The Empowerment Network is spearheading a drive to bring more economic stability and business to North Omaha.
They want to bring positive change to the area, and they want to do it quickly.
We found there are positive changes already underway, but just on a smaller scale.
“I'm willing to sacrifice. Everybody's not willing to sacrifice," says Arlean Green, co-owner of Chi-Town Chicken at 22nd and Lake.
Chi-Town Chicken is leading by example.
Green's family started the restaurant a few years ago because they knew there is a need in the neighborhood. “There is a demand for the type of business, the type of product that we supply, and there are few suppliers, a few individuals, that have been willing to hang in there and supply what the community wants," Green says.
If you're looking for an example of what North Omaha could be, look no further than 24th and Lake. The idea is to get that kind of vibrancy to spread all over North Omaha.
Further west near 62nd and Ames Avenue, "Love For Omaha Too," a music and convenience store, is also leading the way.
William Dortch, the owner, says for long-term positive change to occur, those with influence need to create opportunities. “The bosses that have power, to start sticking to their word, you know what I mean? If they say they're going to do something, do it for anybody that's trying to do something," he says.
Back at Chi-Town Chicken, Green's family is making a statement that they plan to be a long-time player in the North Omaha business scene.
A complete renovation begins in a few weeks.
The family feels it's an investment that will benefit the community, and create a few jobs along the way.
“Somewhere in the bunch, I'll find somebody that has good work ethics, that's honest, that really wants to work," Green says.
The Empowerment Network is holding a meeting to discuss its goals Saturday morning. It's from 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. at Omaha North High School's Viking Center.
Some of those goals and solutions they're focusing on include improved housing units, a safer community, and 250 new and expanded businesses.