Sam Morris / Las Vegas Sun
Tuesday, Aug. 6, 2013 | 2 a.m.
The debate about the abundant availability of alcohol downtown and along Fremont Street will continue Wednesday when the Las Vegas City Council considers creating a licensing category for the under-construction Container Park. The city will also accept a $1 million federal grant and dole out some grant dollars of its own to help local businesses when it holds its regular meeting at 9 a.m. Wednesday at Las Vegas City Hall, 495 S. Main St.
Beer and jungle gyms
With the Container Park steaming ahead toward an October opening, it hasn't yet received liquor licenses for the bars and restaurants slated for the site.
But before the owners can apply, the city needs to update its licensing regulations to allow for alcohol sales at “outdoor entertainment complexes,” of which Container Park would be the first.
Discussion of the proposed changes drew fierce opposition from law enforcement and anti-underage drinking advocates during a recommending committee last month.
Opponents raised concerns about visitors being able to buy alcohol and roam freely throughout the fenced-in site, which currently has plans for a children’s playground as one of its central features.
The issue split the recommending committee 2-1, with Councilmen Bob Coffin and Stavros Anthony supporting the change and Councilman Ricki Barlow voting against. The full council will weigh in Wednesday; if passed, the changes would allow Container Park to begin applying for liquor licenses.
Federal grant offers $1 million prize
To help generate ideas for economic development around Cashman Field, University Medical Center and other redevelopment projects, Las Vegas is sweetening the pot with $1 million in prizes courtesy of the federal government.
Las Vegas was one of six cities chosen to participate in the Strong Cities, Strong Communities initiative, which comes with $1 million in funding from the federal Economic Development Administration and requires Las Vegas to match with $250,000 of its own money.
The city will spend about $100,000 of that money to launch a contest that will solicit “comprehensive economic vision” plans centered on one of several downtown areas.
The best ideas will receive prize money — $800,000 for the grand-prize winner, plus amounts of $60,000, $30,000 and $10,000 for the three runners-up.
The council needs to approve the grant receipt Wednesday, after which staffers will begin developing guidelines and deadlines for the contest.
Park and lunch
After welcoming food trucks to park out front of City Hall, the council is considering another proposal that could mean another convenient lunch option for city employees and others who work in the downtown area.
Eat Here LV plans to convert an unfinished portion on the first floor of the city’s parking garage into a restaurant featuring diner staples of soups, salads, sandwiches and more.
The restaurant would serve breakfast and lunch, but before it can open, its owners must renovate the parking garage space, which is currently a shell with walls and floors but little else.
The project is expected to cost the owners more than $400,000. To help cover some of those costs, they’ve applied for a $50,000 grant through the city’s Quick Start Program, which provides redevelopment agency dollars to businesses to help bring buildings, usually older structures, up to code.
The council will consider Eat Here LV’s grant request and a separate $50,000 grant application from SocialWellth, a Las Vegas-based health care company eyeing a downtown move, when it meets as the Redevelopment Agency board at 8:30 a.m. Wednesday.