North Omaha’s Love’s Jazz Center will have a new name

Published: Mar. 19, 2021 at 5:55 PM CDT
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - An image of Preston Love Sr. marks the 24th and Lake Street cultural arts district. Love was one of the jazz greats, working with legends in the business but today, Love’s son told the community that his name will no longer be associated with the building.

“The name Love will not be used in any way in this facility as it stands right now,” said Love Jr.

Preston Love Jr. says he worked for months with the North 24th Street Business Improvement District presenting his vision of programming for the center but officials with the business improvement district decided to go in another direction.

“I am profoundly disappointed and shocked in the aspect and the processes and the role of the city and the B.I.D. as to the final selection made,” said Love Jr.

There are some who see this as a stripping away of North Omaha culture.

“Culture doesn’t land on one person’s shoulders, we all contribute to the culture of North 24th Street,” said Lavonya Goodwin.

Lavonya Goodwin is the Board President of the North 24th Street Business Improvement District, she says Love Jr. is a member of that board and was a part of the process.

“There were summited proposals which he was a part of, there were two interviews as well as written interviews and one of the questions we asked Preston at that time is was he going to support the decision that the business improvement district said and he said he would,” said Goodwin.

The business improvement district has hired Omaha native Dana Murray to lead the youth programming of the new center. Murray has an impressive resume and played with many big names including Preston Love.

“This is a way to put something that is in the heart of the African American experience which is music and culture and elevate it to a space where the low and moderate-income people of this community have access to that,” said Goodwin.

Love Jr. says he won’t be an angry man about the decision but he says the community should let this process be a moment of learning.

“The B.I.D. has great potential but they need to stay focused on becoming a business improvement district and not trying to work with the city to try to control our culture and our history,” said Love Jr.

“We want to honor the jazz history of North 24th Street, of course, it includes Preston Love but we understand the story is a decades-long history that includes many artists that performed right here on North 24th Street,” said Goodwin.

Goodwin says the next step in the process of reopening the center is to remodel the building.

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