A long-delayed city-run hydroponic greenhouse has new management. The news came at this week’s Winston-Salem City Council meeting.
Nonprofit organization Help Our People Eat (H.O.P.E.) has been awarded the two-year contract. H.O.P.E. distributes food to families experiencing food insecurity. The city will spend nearly $538,000 to employ its services.
But Kimberley Park Hydroponic Farm has been an expensive, multi-year endeavor. During the public comment period, resident Eunice Campbell said the city has never had a solid business plan for the project yet kept pouring money into it.
“From the word 'Go,' on this project, my personal opinion was, ‘I understand what is trying to happen, but the plan is flawed.’ And there has been no correction to that plan in the last six years,” Campbell said.
Championed by North Ward Councilmember D.D. Adams, it was originally projected to cost just under $1 million, but the total budget ballooned to $2.6 million.
Multiple entities have been in charge of running the just recently opened facility. This includes Goler Community Development Corporation — the nonprofit originally tasked with both building and managing the greenhouse — and the city itself.
The motion to award H.O.P.E. the contract passed with a 7-1 vote.
Councilmember Robert Clark, a consistent critic of the facility, was the only opposing vote.