Little Ethiopia

Steve Marcus

Co-owner Fitsumberhan Mehari poses in front of Lucy’s Ethiopian Restaurant, 4850 W. Flamingo Rd., Tuesday, Aug. 6, 2019.

An Ethiopian and Eritrean cluster of businesses in Spring Valley referred to as Little Ethiopia is on its way to becoming the first designated cultural district in Clark County.

Over the summer, members of the community and state Assemblyman Alexander Assefa reached out to the Clark County Commission to work toward creating the district. Commiss

ioners have since approved a policy to streamline the process of designating cultural neighborhoods.

The designation is an acknowledgement only, but Assefa said it would give communities like Little Ethiopia the recognition of being part of the fabric of Las Vegas.

Similar cultural designations exist in cities like Los Angeles and New York City to help strengthen local economies and enhance a sense of place.

The Clark County policy could also help Asian businesses and neighborhoods like the one along Spring Mountain Road informally known as Chinatown obtain an official designation.

“The county is a very diverse place composed of a mosaic of cultures, making it beautiful, diverse community,” Assefa said. “These hardworking members of the community contribute to the economy, bring rich and diverse cultures that makes us an overall strong community.”

The proposed boundaries for Little Ethiopia are Twain Avenue on the north, Tropicana Avenue on the south, Glendale Avenue on the east and Arville Street on the west.

Aseffa said Ethiopians first started immigrating to the Las Vegas Valley in numbers in the late 1970s. Today, 40,000 call Las Vegas home, with more than 40 small businesses in the area.

The proposed designation will be heard by the Spring Valley and Paradise town advisory boards before going back to the commission for consideration next year.

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