‘Making sure there is diversity and inclusion’
QUESTIONS & ANSWERS | KEN EVANS
Ken Evans, president of the Urban Chamber of Commerce in Las Vegas, was recently appointed to the Las Vegas Stadium Authority Board. With so much attention focused on the NFL’s Raiders moving to Las Vegas, Las Vegas Black Image Magazine sat down with the board’s sole African-American appointee to ask some billion-dollar questions.
What do you foresee as the African-American business and employment advantages from the development of the new Las Vegas Stadium?
There are opportunities with the predevelopment and the initial construction phase — as well as in the ongoing operations for the stadium.
What will be the official name for the new Las Vegas Stadium?
That I do not know at this point.
What is your role and the name of the stadium board you sit on?
It’s called “The Las Vegas Stadium Authority Board” that was created to supervise the initial development and ongoing operations of the stadium.
Do you really think the Las Vegas Stadium will bring some economic advantages to the Las Vegas black community?
Yes, I do.
How do you suggest to black business owners how to prepare for procurement opportunities for the new stadium?
I would suggest that they view the website www.lvstadiumauthority.com on a regular basis, and take a look at the background documents that includes Senate Bill 1 and the legislative language. In addition, they should view the powerpoint presentation that talks about the structure of the stadium and how they intend to operate it. I would also suggest that business owners attend the board meetings so they can stay current with stadium decisions and timelines that are coming down the pipeline.
When are the regular stadium board meetings?
The next one is April 20, and the website lists dates, location and times for all public board meetings. The dates for the board meetings are placed on the website 90 days out from the next meeting.
When will the stadium be completed?
The plans are for the stadium to be completed in time for 2020 football season. There was a different timeline published originally, but it depends on how financing flows and everything else. Also, there are two things that are happening right now. We are putting together a development agreement and an operating agreement for the stadium. The development agreement is important, because there will be an entity formed that will be responsible for the development of the stadium and a totally different entity responsible for operations. The entity that is formed to execute the development agreement and the entity formed to execute the operations agreement are geared toward anyone that is interested in doing work for the stadium — and are the one to make contact with.
How will the stadium be funded? Will there be any federal funds provided that requires minority participation?
No, to the best of my knowledge. The requirements for participation come from Senate Bill 1 — which is why I encourage people to go to the website to read the language. Especially if you are a business owner, because there is a 15% requirement for small business participation. Additionally, there is a community benefits package that is inclusive of procurement opportunities, employment opportunities and community engagement activities.
So will the stadium be funded with private funds or just state funds?
Well, it’s a combination of private dollars as well as tourism reinvestment dollars. The public participation is based on tourism reinvestment dollars.
Do the tourism reinvestment dollars come from the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority?
It comes from revenue generated by the tourism industry. There is a powerpoint presentation on the website that gives more details.
Some people think that the Raiders are coming to Las Vegas. What are your thoughts?
I think there is a high probability that the Raiders team’s relocation will occur. My feelings is that anything can happen. When you pull together the right team and typically the right people — regardless of the challenges, obstacles and barriers — they have a way to get the mission accomplished. I will definitely tell you that my take on it is that it will happen. Plus, personally I have been trying to help keep this moving myself. The two things I recently told another reporter is that I have two primary objectives as it relates to my participation on the Las Vegas Stadium Authority Board. The first one is to make sure we produce a quality, first-class stadium, because that puts Las Vegas in a global position that is very positive. But just as important to me is making sure that there is diversity and inclusion in terms of the procurement, business and employment opportunities. Those two goals do not have to be mutually exclusive.