Residents express concerns about tent vendors set up on sidewalks near UNLV

The vendors are giving out free phones to those who qualify, but are also blocking the sidewalk.
Published: Jun. 21, 2022 at 4:32 PM PDT
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LAS VEGAS, Nev. (FOX5) - When driving through the intersection of Flamingo and Maryland Parkway near UNLV, you may see tent vendors set up on the sidewalks. Some people in the community believe the tents are blocking the public’s right of way.

Clark County said they are looking into this. Nine tents were set up on the sidewalks on Tuesday giving away things like free phones and tablets.

One person who lives in this area said he does not like to see these tents out on the sidewalks.

“It is just kind of an eye sore, it looks like a flea market,” said resident Jeremiah Wilke.

Wilke has lived in this southeast part of Las Vegas for 18 years. He said the last couple of months, the tents have just continued to multiply and for him, this raises some concerns.

“It is a little bit hard to walk by,” said Wilke. “I mean I can only imagine folks walking to and from school or going to work, or trying to catch the bus which is right next to those tents.”

The people working in the tents told FOX5 they are field workers that work for electronic communication providers who are contracted through the government. They give away cell phones and tablets that are supplied through the government.

“For low-income or people that are on government assistance, or any qualifying government program, they can get a free phone and a tablet,” said Nick Hyatt, a man who works in one of the tents.

Hyatt said since they are not making profits off of the phones or tablets, they do not need a business permit to do this out on the sidewalks.

“If you are not impeding the sidewalks, you can be on public property, but you can’t impede the sidewalk. you have to leave enough room for the wheelchair to get through,” said Hyatt.

“I don’t know why they can’t just be in a store and have to be set up on the intersection every day,” said Wilke.

The company that some of the people in the tents work for is part of a government program

The county is still looking into if these vendors are in the public right of way by being on the sidewalks.