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Video Vault | Street Tile Fail on Fremont Street

Reported by: Tom Hawley
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Updated: 8/27/2014 10:49 am

LAS VEGAS (KSNV — Fremont Street seems to be doing much better these days compared with the past few decades, between the Downtown Project and the wild nightlife under the canopy. But the City of Las Vegas' previous attempts at downtown revitalization have had results that were mixed, at best.

This 1981 News 3 report is about a project to spruce up the area with decorative street tiles.  t includes "pop-up" information (in italics) to bring the story up to date.

"We all make mistakes," began the News 3 reporter. "The only ones who don't are those who don't do anything."
The man behind the microphone for this story was Rob McCoy, who was at Channel-3 in the late 70s and early 80s. 

Today McCoy is Director of Government Relations at Centurylink.

"Those words today from former Mayor Oran Gragson..."

If you are new to Southern Nevada but recognize that name, maybe it's because you've seen the signs on on a portion of US95 named for the former mayor.

"...who attempted to explain away the city's two year nightmare with street tiles which are embedded — or almost embedded — in seven Fremont Street intersections.

The accompanying video shows the southeast corner of Fremont and Las Vegas Boulevard, which today is the Inspire Theater multi-purpose complex.

"The gaming-related tiles — installed two years ago at a cost of $160,000 — began to crack and deteriorate almost immediately..."

The video showing the tiles is from the perspective of what is Oscar's Steakhouse today. Back in 1981 it was an elevated pool over the entrance to the Union Plaza.

"...turning the city's once bright bet into a not-so-royal flush."

"The city admitted its mistake today. Half the tiles will be paved over. The other half will be cleaned up and maintained by the Downtown Progress Association."

The entire issue became a moot point a dozen years later, when the City closed the street to vehicular traffic between Main and Las Vegas Boulevard to make way for the Fremont Street Experience.

"The cost of paving over the remaining intersections will be shared both by the city as well as the company responsible for the tiles, Stewart Construction. Even so, it may be a while before the city can forget its mistake with Glitter Gulch."

Video of the City Council addressing this issues shows Bill Briare (Las Vegas Mayor from 1975 to 1987). On his right is Councilman Ron Lurie, who defeated casino maverick Bob Stupak to become the succeed Briare

"Those tiles which are removed in one piece may be auctioned off to the highest bidder."

The location of the original tiles today is unknown. Little evidence of the project exists outside the News 3 Video Vault.



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