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Light Rail Downtown Could Take Out Reed Whipple Cultural Center


City of Las Vegas

A plan to bring light rail downtown would cut through the Reed Whipple Cultural Center at 821 Las Vegas Boulevard North.

More evidence is emerging that a light rail system from McCarran International Airport through downtown Las Vegas will become a reality.

But not everyone is happy about the idea.

The Las Vegas Historic Preservation Commission gave the idea a vote of no confidence at its recent meeting.

The commission weighed in because an east-west spur of the rail would cut into the Reed Whipple Cultural Center, 821 Las Vegas Blvd. North. The spur would connect a north-south line on Maryland Parkway to another north-south line along Las Vegas Boulevard.

Gina Venglass, of the Public Works Department, said the line would cut through the south wing of Reed Whipple. Commission Chairman Bob Stoldal clarified, though, that once that south wing is gone, the whole building would likely be demolished

"I see the south wing going, but what I really see is the entire building going," Stoldal said.

"Right and it is a good point," Venglass replied. "Becuase once you take off the wing ... what value is it at that point?"

Venglass added that in seven years, a lease between the city and the Las Vegas 51s Triple-A minor league baseball team, which uses Cashman Field, expires. By then the city wants to turn Cashman Field and adjacent Cashman Center into a destination point for tourists.

Support comes from

"The goal again is, if they fly into McCarran (International Airport), they can hop on the light rail, they can get where they want to be, they can get down Maryland parkway, they can get down Las Vegas Boulevard," she said. "This is the northermost tip of what the city wants to see for that loop."

Commissioners unanimously opposed the idea. They asked city staff to draft a resolution in opposition to the plan as it currently stands. Some suggested the rail line be extended further north to avoid Reid Whipple altogether.

"I just think our city needs to take more consideration of historic buildings," said commissioner Jarmilla McMillan-Arnold. "We're very good at blowing it up, tearing it up, getting rid of it and building something new."

An aerial view of Reed Whipple, with Las Vegas Boulevard near the top of the photo running past the building’s entrance

This shows where a light rail line would pass from Maryland Parkway, near the top of the photo, west over the Cashman Center parking lot, over Las Vegas Boulevard, and cut into the Reed Whipple Cultural Center. 






Joe Schoenmann, KNPR's State of Nevada

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KNPR's State of Nevada
KNPR's State of Nevada