Las Vegas Sun

September 16, 2019

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History:

A campaign to save Debbie Reynolds Drive

Debbie Reynolds: 1932-2016

Las Vegas News Bureau

Debbie Reynolds performs during her 56th birthday celebration April 1, 1997, in Las Vegas. CREDIT: Brian Jones/Las Vegas News Bureau

In Las Vegas, it’s commonplace to name a street after a casino. It’s also commonplace for those casinos to be imploded. Those twin practices create a unique phenomenon: Our street names sometimes outlive their namesakes (see: Desert Inn Road and Sands Avenues). These legacy names offer a rare and whimsical connection to history in a town that tends to value the shiny new thing.

At least that’s the perspective of a group trying to keep Debbie Reynolds Drive from being renamed. The short (approximately 1,000 foot) street runs between Convention Center Drive and Desert Inn Road. It was named for the Hollywood star and Las Vegas performer’s namesake Debbie Reynolds Hollywood Hotel, which lasted for about six years in the 1990s. The building was imploded in 2015, and local developer Lorenzo Doumani plans to build an $850 million nongaming luxury resort called Majestic Las Vegas in its spot. His bid to rename the street Majestic Plaza Place will be considered by the Clark County Planning Commission on Aug. 20.

Eat More Arts Vegas, or EMAV, launched a petition to “Save Debbie Reynolds Drive” on GoPetition.com on Aug. 8. At press time, it had 250 signatures.

“Debbie Reynolds Drive is one of the few landmarks honoring a female Vegas icon,” says Sarah O’Connell, founder of EMAV. “The Vegas mystique that draws tourists isn’t just about nightclubs and mega hotels; it’s about the entire Vegas story. And that story has been written in the imagination of most Americans by our local culture scene, which includes iconic entertainers. … Why throw away a claim to American history that no place else in the world can make?”