North Omaha’s MLK memorial in need of repairs

For two decades the Martin Luther King Memorial has anchored the North 24th Street corridor
A North Omaha landmark is sinking, cracking, and becoming a safety hazard.
Published: Aug. 8, 2022 at 7:16 PM CDT
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - A North Omaha landmark is sinking, cracking, and becoming a safety hazard.

It’s not the kind of picture you want to paint when you think of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. but a cornerstone memorial bearing his name is beginning to deteriorate.

For two decades the Martin Luther King Memorial has anchored the North 24th Street corridor.

“This site reminds us of Dr. King and it is important to the community because the community needs to remember Dr. King for how he is and what he has done,” said Rev. Alvin P. McCruel, IMA.

Now the memorial needs some help it’s falling into disrepair and it needs to be fixed.

Rev. Alvin McCruel and the Rev. Dr. Stan Rone are members of the Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance. The IMA owns the site, the organization has put up signs asking the public to get permission before using the memorial.

“We can’t afford to have members of the community come in and possibly get injured because of the current condition of the site. There’s uneven pavers, there’s things we need to level it up in order to do so we need to tear it all the way out and then do it all over again,” said McCruel.

The dream was not just Dr. King’s dream it’s our dream as a people there’s so much history here in North Omaha that has made a significance to the civil rights movement and continues to do so, so we needed a place to capture that and to celebrate that,” said Rev. Dr. Stan Rone, IMA.

The IMA estimates that it will cost about $150,000 to get the memorial back in shape. So far Douglas County Commissioner Chris Rogers has led an effort to contribute $75,000 from the county.

A number of pastors are asking for help to repair the MLK Memorial in North Omaha.

“There are families here that commemorated loved ones that celebrated births and weddings and graduations and all kinds of significant accomplishments. You know anything that’s built has to be maintained and it takes the community to do it and we because we celebrate it as being a part of our community we must continue to celebrate that by maintaining it, it will only last if we hold onto it,” said Rone.

The IMA is also hoping for an equal amount from the city of Omaha.

The pastors are also asking the community to pitch in and help fund the repairs.

“When you go into a project like this you don’t know what you’re going to encounter once it gets torn out, so we need some contingency funds from the community to help defray the cost of the repair work,” said McCruel.

“We can’t just rely on the city and county commissioners there has to be an impatience from the grassroots folks here in the community that see the value of it and value the growth the education of our children and this moving forward,” said Rone.

Chardale Barnes recently opened Stable Gray, his internet marketing company in the 24th and Lake Street area. He believes the MLK Memorial is vital to the community.

“We’re talking about history and culture and when we talk about that we’re talking about the identity of the community,” said Barnes.

Members of the community can help by donating or buying a paver that will be added to the memorial’s walkway. Dr. Rone says it’s important for the community to help its community.

“You know anything that’s built has to be maintained and it takes the community to do it and we because we celebrate it as being a part of our community we must continue to celebrate that by maintaining it, it will only last if we hold onto it.”

If you would like to make a donation to help repair the Martin Luther King Memorial you can call the IMA at 402-598-7025.

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