Vertical farming initiative is one of many projects underway to revitalize Historic Westside of Las Vegas

August 30, 2022

LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — The Historic Westside could soon have some resources to battle food insecurity.

The neighborhood located northwest of the Spaghetti Bowl could soon have “vertical farming,” an initiative to help local residents get access to fresh fruits and veggies.

It’s one of many concepts the city is hoping will bring change to the struggling neighborhood.

“This area needs to come back,” said resident Karla Meads.

Meads said the neighborhood has deteriorated over time, leaving residents like her feeling abandoned.

“It’s really dry, this area here is more like drug addict activity,” she said.

The City of Las Vegas wants to turn things around with the Historic Urban Neighborhood Design Redevelopment Plan.

Councilman Cedric Crear said it’s underway thanks to a $500,000 contribution from MGM Resorts.

“The City of Las Vegas is all hands on deck,” Councilman Crear said.

The plan also aims to combat the 25% food insecurity impacting the area with vertical farming.

“Imagine a hydro-powered growing facility inside the containers expected to grow 3 million pounds of food per year. We’re going to be able to get back out to the community with a new grocery facility,” he added.

That new facility, he said, will be operated by a new nonprofit organization. SNAP residents will get the food for free, and those living in the neighborhood get a discount. Visitors will pay full price.

The project will also sell the produce to MGM properties, and it’s one of several investments he said will be blooming in the next few years.

“This project is not the silver bullet, but the combination of the HUNDRED plan is the bullet to revitalize the community,” he said.

Meads said she is hopeful that this will be the change her neighborhood needs.

“It’s great. I think it’s showing a start to a new beginning,” she said.

Councilman Crear said the containers have been ordered for the vertical farming project, and they plan on launching in November.

Other projects coming to the community thanks to the HUNDRED plan include a workforce development center, a new library, a health and wellness center, revitalizing an affordable housing unit, and complete street programs that will promote larger sidewalks.

“In two to five years, it’s gonna look completely different than what it looks like now,” Councilman Crear said. “We’re gonna have a lot more development, a lot more investment, and a continuation of the revitalization of our community.”