Friday, July 19, 2024

HISTORIC BLACK VEGAS | What’s your dream for Las Vegas’ historically Black business corridor?

October 24, 2023 by  
Filed under Conversation

Claytee D. White

BY CLAYTEE D. WHITE

What are the current plans for businesses in the Westside Business core? During the years from the early 1940s through the 1970s, businesses on the Westside were vibrant and successful. There were restaurants, nightclubs with gaming, a bowling alley, taxicab company, malt shop, beauty shops, and barbershops. 

Residents, area property owners, and the City of Las Vegas are working together to bring back the businesses — and to connect the Westside with Nevada’s primary enterprise: tourism. Let’s get ready to be successful in a brand-new way — and lead the effort with cooperation and cohesiveness. 

First, people who live in the area — those who continued to run businesses through the hard times, and new businesses that sprang up more recently — are deciding what they want to see in the community. Please attend all the meetings that you hear announced on KCEP and read about in your church bulletins, at community centers, at Nevada Partners, and at all places where people gather. Word-of-mouth is still one of the best means of communicating in the Westside. So let me tell you what I’m hearing and you can tell your neighbors so we can be proud of our unified community’s plans. 

There is a plan. No, this one is real and being implemented. It’s called the HUNDRED Plan In Action. HUNDRED means Historic Urban Neighborhood Design Redevelopment Plan. It is a “visionary place-based initiative designed to revitalize the Westside while preserving its cultural significance.” This plan “gives voice to the community and was created by the community, for the community.” The next time you’re on Google, look it up and read about this plan. 

The Las Vegas-Clark County Library District has held several meetings about the new library that will be built on Mt. Moriah near Legacy Park. What a cultural hub this will become. I hope the new African American Museum will find a site near that location as well. OMG! A library, museum, Legacy Park, and Gritz within walking distance of each other! Be still my heart. 

Now let’s move all the way to the other end of the community near the Westside School. Are you familiar with both gardens, the CSN campus, a housing development, and restaurant? In James Gay Park is the start of hydroponic gardening, at C & Monroe is the Obodo Garden where you can put your hands in the earth to grow vegetables, and between D at C on Jefferson will be a campus of CSN across the street from a housing complex (where New Jerusalem was located) that will have businesses on the first level. I also heard that Chef Jeff will open a restaurant in the Westside School. And I’m sure you have seen the new Workforce Training building at the gate of the Westside School. These are the new or coming attractions but let’s not forget the shops on D Street and Annie’s Kitchen that never left the commercial area. Have you heard about Annie’s? You better ask somebody. 

Okay, what do you know? Which meetings have you attended? Do you know about future meetings? Share what you’re learning and take someone to an upcoming meeting so we can share ideas and help design our community. 

Notice how I take ownership of the Westside. Some long-time residents are frightened by gentrification. I want to live in the renewed Westside. Would I be considered a gentrifier? I want to live above the bookstore. I’m sure someone will open a bookstore next to the yoga studio, beside the vegan soul-food restaurant where I can order a glass of wine after Sunday services. 

That’s my dream. What’s yours? This is a close-knit community that can work together and build something wonderful. Next time, I’ll write about businesses on Owens. I’ve heard from several people that an African Market would be a great idea in that shopping center, originally, the largest shopping mall in Las Vegas. Did you know that? Well, I plan to do the research for next month.

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