by Max Darrow
NBC Las Vegas
LAS VEGAS (KSNV) — Within Clark County, there may soon be a district that is officially recognized as, “Little Ethiopia.”
The idea was officially presented to the Board of County Commissioners earlier this week, and many of the folks in the Ethiopian community are eager it may become a reality.
“It’s amazing, I was so happy, everybody is happy,” Melaku Mengistu said.
Mengistu is the owner of Sable Market and Cafe, an Ethiopian business near Decatur and Flamingo. His business may soon fall in the heart of “Little Ethiopia.”
“The businesses here, there are a lot of Ethiopian stores around here,” he said. “It’s good for us.”
News 3 caught up with State Assemblyman Alexander Asseffa at another spot in the area, Nu Ethiopian Kitchen.
Asseffa is the person spearheading the effort, which began several months ago when he brought the idea to the County Commissioners.
“The county had never done something like this before, so it didn’t have a policy in place to allow cultural districts to be named in our county,” he said. “It does open the door for many other districts, many other cultures, to come up with the same concept so they can highlight their traditions as well.”
So back in September, the county created and approved a cultural district designation policy, which effectively paved the way for Asseffa’s “Little Ethiopia” proposal.
“This is just one piece of the mosaic of cultures that make us a strong Nevada, a strong community here in Clark County,” he said.
The boundaries of the district would be as follows:
- Twain (northern boundary)
- Tropicana (southern boundary)
- Lindell (western boundary)
- Arville (eastern boundary)
There is a high concentration of Ethiopian businesses in this area, according to Asseffa.
But as is the case with preparing a batch of Ethiopian coffee, this process takes time. Asseffa brought it before the county earlier this week, it’ll go through two town boards, and then will finally be brought back to the county for a final vote. That process could take a few more weeks, according to Asseffa.
However, Mengistu says he’s happy to wait because the recognition means the world to him.
“We don’t have to rush, you know. I don’t have any problems,” he said. “Whatever it takes, time, we’re living here, we’re running business, everybody is running business.”
“A lot of people are not as very patient as he is, they’re excited, they want to get it done tomorrow,” Asseffa said. “I want to get it done tomorrow, too, but there are rules that we have to follow, there are procedures that we have to follow. So, that’s what we’re doing.”
He’s hopeful this will become official by February.