Within the last 10 years, Aksarben Village in Omaha has exploded with business and apartments. Now UNO is planning more changes for the area.
Sunday morning and Amato's Café near 64th and Center was packed with customers. Their specialty? “We're famous for our ricotta berry pancakes.” Owner Sam Amato has been at this location for over 20 years. He remembers when it was a lot quieter. “There was a period in the late 90s where this was dead, I mean real dead."
A huge change has come in the past decade with new shops and businesses popping up everywhere, meaning even more business for him. He says it's all thanks to the University of Nebraska Omaha. “They started the development and since then with the apartments and all the new business our business has more than doubled."
Now UNO, which will be putting a new arena in the neighborhood, plans to expand again with more residential areas, recreational facilities, parking and space for commercial development. It will be called UNO Nebraska Village.
UNO alum Paul Downey likes the idea. “I think having all these additional dormitories and living for the kids, it's getting away from the old-fashioned work college to a real dormitory where people can come here and have a real college life experience."
The growth in the area keeps him coming back to the Farmer's Market. Downey's hope is that UNO will keep growing. “I'd like to see it be like a sister to Lincoln, rather than it being like a stepsister, being equal."
The plans for the expansion are expected to be voted on by the City Council this week. As for Amato's, with the possibility of upcoming development, they are planning to expand their hours.