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North Omaha’s 24th Street Business Improvement District take a stand against gun violence

Published: Jan. 3, 2021 at 3:30 PM CST
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - Officials from the North 24th Street Business Improvement District released a statement on Sunday against gun violence after Saturday’s shooting near 24th and Emmet Street.

Now the organization dedicated to reinvigorating the 24th Street corridor, where the violence happened, is sharing their vision for a safer community.

The 24th St. Business district is calling yesterday’s shooting at 24th and Emmet streets unacceptable. After months committed to revitalizing the area, they lay out their vision of progress for the year ahead.

Lavonya Goodwin is the President of the North 24th St. Business Improvement District.

“That definitely was my first reaction one of concern for everyone involved,” said Goodwin.

Goodwin is dedicated to making sure violence isn’t the focal point of the area.

“You never want to see shots fired you never want to hear about an act of violence but I think the greater message is we are collaboratively working to overcome the various issues that have represented a distressed community,” said Goodwin.

The budding district has more than 500 storefronts and has made strides in 2020 to make sure the area continues to thrive through the pandemic. Goodwin reminds people this area was once thriving with bustling businesses.

She says the district plans to make that a reality again.

“Our initiatives are always going to be focused on the physical built environment, but safety and security go hand-in-hand with that,” said Goodwin.

Working alongside property owners they’ve cut back on loitering, littering, and say they’re also focusing on initiatives like signage, lighting, even traffic flow to promote safety and beautification.

“The resounding message is that the folks on N. 24th St. care about what happens in our community and we’re working very hard to ensure that N. 24th St. is a place a safe place for people to live to work and play,” said Goodwin.

Lavonya Goodwin says gun violence is a complex issue but she’s counting on her community to use their unique perspective to work together to reduce violence here.

This is the full statement from the North 24th Street Business Improvement District:

One of the primary initiatives of the North 24th Street Business Improvement District (BID) is to encourage a safe and secure environment for people to live work and play. Yesterday’s shooting on 24th and Emmet Street is unacceptable.

This senseless act of violence took place in broad daylight, in front of a school where kids play, near homes where people live, and close by active businesses where people make their living. We realize that the pandemic has caused an uptick in violence in cities across the nation.

Nevertheless, we cannot and will not accept gun violence as par for the course on North 24th Street.

The board of directors of the North 24th Street BID is actively working alongside businesses, organizations, and residents in the BID area to promote an environment for economic growth and development.

“Gun violence is a complex problem, but it is a problem that we can solve collectively by taking the proper measures within our own sphere of influence to prevent violence and promote a safe community,” says LaVonya Goodwin, Board President of the North 24th Street BID.

In 2020, the North 24th Street BID took several steps to promote safety and security within the BID area including:

  • Collaborating with North Omaha organizations to issue a public service announcement during the 4th of July holiday weekend stating: KEEP IT: Safe. Legal. Respectful. Clean.
  • Encouraging the implementation of Closed Property signs. As a result, 22 property owners (some with multiple properties) placed Closed Property signs on their lots to discourage loitering and illegal activity.
  • Introducing property owners to dust to dawn lighting options to provide well-lit spaces along the corridor at night.

In 2021, the North 24th Street BID plans to develop and implement a comprehensive safety and security strategy, funding, along with community cooperation, is key to the success of any plan.

“It is, unfortunately, true from yesterday’s shooting on North 24th Street that lives will continue to be lost needlessly without local, state, and national leadership to enact common-sense gun laws that prevent the possession of guns by convicted felons. It is also time for all Omahans and especially those in North Omaha, to unite against gun violence by standing up and speaking out when they have information about the perpetrators of gun violence in our community. This is not a political issue; it is a life-or-death issue that requires common-sense solutions.” Dr. Ralph Lassiter, Board Member of the North 24th Street BID.

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