#City & Town Planning
Target:
Clark County Planning Commission
Region:
United States of America
Website:
EatMoreArtVegas.com

A request to rename the road dedicated as Debbie Reynolds Drive will return to the Clark County Planning Commission on Aug. 20.

Lorenzo Doumani is a developer seeking to change Debbie Reynolds Drive, asked the commission to hold his request for two weeks on Tuesday, when it was expected to be heard in front of the board, according to the county.
Doumani wants the roughly 1,000-foot street running between Convention Center Drive and Desert Inn Road to be renamed Majestic Plaza Place to reflect his planned and recently approved five-star hotel along the road — Majestic Resort and Spa.

County staff have shockingly recommended approval but it has been criticized by Reynolds’ son Todd Fisher, the brother of deceased “Star Wars” actress Carrie Fisher (Debbie Reynolds' daughter), who rightfully states that the street named in honor of his mother pays tribute to her contributions to Las Vegas. Eat More Art Vegas agrees with Mr. Fisher. This request by a developer to eliminate the name of a Las Vegas legend whose story is integral to the iconic status of our city must not go unchallenged.

Email the commission here: zoning@ClarkCountyNV.gov

Dear Clark County Planning Commissioners:

Eat More Art Vegas, an organization that represents stakeholders in Southern Nevada's creative cultural constituency, firmly objects to the proposed name change of Debbie Reynolds Drive to Majestic Plaza Place. This request by a developer to eliminate the name of a Las Vegas legend whose story is integral to the iconic status of our city must not go unchallenged.

Eat More Art Vegas facilitates a monthly, open community meeting for the cultural constituency called the "Vegas Arts Table." We begin each session with an informational component. Last month we offered a presentation about the history of Southern Nevada culture that touched on our evolution from the first indigenous residents to the present. As the speaker shared about each notable event and the impactful people who contributed to our development, a consistent theme emerged that can be exemplified by this one statement: "The spot where the land was sold at auction to comprise the city of Las Vegas is paved over, underneath the food court of the Plaza Hotel." Las Vegans are tired of being robbed of our rich cultural history by corporate interests who try to carve up the goose that lays the golden eggs instead of nourishing it to bring sustainable gains.

The UNLV College of Fine Arts inducted Debbie Reynolds into their Hall of Fame for a good reason. Her iconic status as a performer was established at a young age in the mid-twentieth century, and Ms. Reynolds never failed to lend her starlight to the Las Vegas community until her death (which occurred suddenly just a couple of months before she was to be inducted in Dec 2016). Enjoy this look back at Ms. Reynold in Vegas to refresh your memory: https://news3lv.com/news/local/gallery-remembering-debbie-reynolds-in-las-vegas. Las Vegas put great stock in the memory of the "Rat Pack" days and saw fit to support a "Mob Museum" to capitalize on its mystique to draw tourism. Why erase one of the few prominent landmarks that remind us of the important women of that same era?

The developer of the Majestic mega-resort, Mr. Doumani implies in the recent Review-Journal article about the name change that people would somehow be "confused" about finding his establishment because the street name does not say "Majestic." Quite frankly, we do not know whether to laugh or be insulted at the idea that we aren't capable of reading a map and wonder why he thinks a road sign would somehow eclipse his $850 million project. If that were to happen, it wouldn't be much of a hotel. Do we accidentally go to Pennsylvania to visit the White House because it is on Pennsylvania Avenue? Why pretend that it is about logistics when it is really about marketing for the benefit of one business rather than the community that is expected to pay for public services that will enable it to operate?

The Nevada cultural sector reflects the fourth-fastest growth in the country, and it reflects a diverse range of professionals and businesses. International artists are lured here by the "Vegas, Baby" image. Academics turn to history to establish our legitimacy. Families tell our stories to develop a stable sense of community. Craftspeople renew our economic potential by passing on the traditions and trades of live performance and creative skill to younger generations. It would be impossible to count the number of locals who have personal stories about the times they learned from Debbie Reynolds backstage as students or worked with her as production professionals. It is a matter of pride for our local production business to count her as a past client. The cultural constituency passionately claims her as one of our own. The legends that came before us write us into the greater American story. Why erase who we are from the imagination of our nation?

Nevada now sells itself as the "Innovation State," but we will not be true in our advertising if the County and the LVCVA do not address their failure to support, promote, and strategize with the individual citizens who serve continually as a vital part of the local tourism, education, development, and trade show industries. Our local, independent galleries and theatre companies receive no meaningful promotion in spite of their consistent contributions to the economy and their network of colleagues that connects Las Vegas to other creative markets around the globe. In general, we are not contacted to serve as cultural strategists and advisors in any formal, meaningful way. Mr. Doumani should be grateful for the honor of having Debbie Reynolds Drive guide visitors to his establishment. To those who do not dismiss our history, the name Debbie Reynolds brings prestige. There would be no Las Vegas for him to exploit without her or the people who, inspired by her work, came to Vegas to draw visitors into hotels like the Majestic. It would be wise politically for the county to show recognition rather than indifference to the voters and taxpayers here. Why marginalize us when you can be our champion?

We the undersigned stakeholders of the Southern Nevada cultural constituency demand that Clark County reject this proposal by Mr. Doumani. We ask that you vote to respect your constituents and keep Debbie Reynolds Drive so that we can be confident that the County Commissioners DO care more about our community's pride and joy than corporate priorities that endeavor to erase our legacy.

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The Save Debbie Reynolds Drive #DoitForDebbie petition to Clark County Planning Commission was written by Sarah O'Connell and is in the category City & Town Planning at GoPetition.