The Las Vegas City Council today started the process to issue $26 million in bonds to pay for construction and rehabilitation of parks and community centers. The money to pay off the bonds was initially earmarked for construction of a failed downtown soccer stadium.
The council approved the measure unanimously and with little discussion. The bond sale is expected in August, with funds available in September.
The $26 million will be used for projects including repairs and renovations at the Charleston Heights Community Center, the Las Vegas Senior Center and the Doolittle Community Center. Several new parks also will be built, mostly in the city’s older neighborhoods.
The lack of controversy surrounding today’s vote belied the contentious process that led to this point.
Last year, the city proposed using roughly $3.5 million it receives each year from room tax collections to help fund construction of a $200 million downtown soccer stadium. The public’s contribution to the project, which in addition to the room taxes included infrastructure funding and $40 million worth of city-owned land, generated a fierce backlash that turned the stadium into a hot-button election issue.
The plan was scrapped in February after Major League Soccer notified the city it would not receive an expansion franchise that would have been the stadium’s main tenant.
With the project dead, opponents moved quickly to tie up the $3.5 million in annual room tax revenue to prevent it from being used for future stadium plans.
Instead, the money will pay off $50 million in bonds the city plans to issue for parks and recreation construction.
The $50 million will be split into two bond issues.