Winston-Salem officials hosted a ribbon-cutting ceremony Saturday in celebration of the opening of a city-funded hydroponic greenhouse six years in the making.

Mayor Allen Joines opened the event by tracing the long history of the project, which began in 2016. The idea came from Mayor Pro Tem D.D. Adams, who saw it as a way to address food insecurity in the city. The opening was initially slated for 2018, but construction delays and financial issues got in the way. 

Originally budgeted at $962,000, officials now say it took at least double that to cross the finish line, though final figures are still unclear. 

On Saturday, Adams thanked city staffers for staying committed to the project.

“There was weather issues, there was supplier issues, there was COVID issues," said Adams. "And it took us six years. And I never thought that it would take six years, I didn’t. And my heart is full today.”

A recent management shake-up helped move the project along. Last year, city staffers took the reins from Goler Community Development Corporation, the nonprofit originally tasked with both building and managing the greenhouse. 

Since then, several crops have successfully been grown and donated to charity. Plans to distribute the produce more widely are still in development. 

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