Volunteers have planted 185 trees in the historic Berkley Square neighborhood in Las Vegas as part of a U.S. Forest Service Recovery Act-funded Nevada forest revitalization project. The Berkley Square Tree Planting Project was one of the largest volunteer supported activities ever held in Berkley Square which is part of Las Vegas’ Ward 5.
Berkley Square represented an important step in civil rights for African-Americans in Las Vegas. The Historic Berkley Square Neighborhood is the first subdivision to be built in Nevada by and for African-American residents of Las Vegas. It was designed in 1949 by Paul R. Williams, an internationally-known African-American architect who also designed the La Concha Motel, as well as movie-star homes and public buildings in Los Angeles.
The project is part of a larger urban forestry effort to retain and create jobs in Clark County, which has been devastated by the current economic recession, while helping reduce urban heat island effects and improving community aesthetics within neighborhoods.
Located about 1.5 miles from downtown Las Vegas the neighborhood includes 148 Contemporary Ranch style homes constructed in 1954 and 1955. The community filled a desperate need for housing for African-American families at the time it was constructed and was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2009.