South Omaha was once on the population decline; but now, it's seeing a resurgence. As more come to the area and stay, the city is examining housing needs.
There is a need for more housing, according to a study that was part of a 2010 master plan study, looking at the area between the Missouri River and the Kennedy Freeway, Center to "L" Streets. Identifying specific areas of improvement is the focus now, as planning moves forward.
The Omaha Chamber of Commerce is calling on citizens for input. Surveys were recently mailed out to those in the impacted zip codes with an April 20th response deadline. "The needs of the community have changed. The community is growing, and the housing, it's getting older," said Community Development Manager, Karen Mavropoulos.
"The housing stock is at a critical point," added Mike Battershell, President of the South Omaha Neighborhood Alliance. "So what are we doing to raise the standard of living and housing, to do with codes, to do with availability of affordable housing? But also, it has to do with infill development."
Community members are invited to attend any of three public meetings Thursday.
The first is set for 10 a.m. at the Saint Joseph Tower, 15th floor, 2205 So. 10th St. Another session will be held from 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m., at One World Community Health Centers, 4920 So. 30th St. And the third meeting will be held in the evening, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo, the Tree Tops Restaurant, 3701 So. 10th St.
Figuring out what the South Omaha housing market needs - be it updated construction, single-family, multi-family, more garages or rentals - is just the first step, said Battershell. "Housing will lead then to increased business. It will lead to better schools. It will lead to all of the things that neighbors care about when choosing where to live."