Tunnel to Somewhere

F Street connection design features murals, history and panache

When F Street reopens as a connector between downtown and West Las Vegas, it’s not going to be just another tunnel under Interstate 15; it’s going to be more of a grand entrance.

F Street was blocked off at I-15 in the summer of 2008, much to the chagrin of West Las Vegas residents who felt slighted and shut out of the planning process. To right the wrong, the Nevada Legislature ordered that the street be reopened, and that the city, the Nevada Department of Transportation and the Las Vegas Redevelopment Agency pay for it. Estimates for the work range from $20 million to $70 million, depending on the size and design, so you know this isn’t just another tunnel. Designs, honed at the third in a series of community meetings Aug. 26 at the Doolittle Community Center, feature curved walls, murals by local artists depicting the neighborhood’s history by decade, large signs declaring the area the “Historic Westside” and towers on both ends paying homage to the Moulin Rouge, the first integrated hotel and casino in the United States.

That last aspect of the design, however, proved somewhat controversial at the meeting. “I think the history of West Las Vegas exceeds the Moulin Rouge,” one participant said. “It was only open for six months and nobody I know was that high on it.”

“It closed the Strip down for six months,” countered another participant, in favor of the towers. “Everybody came to the Moulin Rouge; white, black, pink … everybody.”

Still to come are focus groups to further refine the plan before a public meeting is called to unveil the finished version. In other words, don’t look for F Street to reopen anytime soon.

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Thur. 26 The desert is a different place at night, awash in moonlight instead of the merciless sun. If you haven’t experienced it, the Full Moon Hike at Spring Mountain Ranch is your chance. Be sure to bring along a flashlight and water. A park ranger will lead the hike. No pets are allowed. Hikers meet at 7:45 p.m. at the tour gate; admission is $7 per vehicle. Call 875-4141 to reserve your spot.