Special committee invites Omaha residents to meeting on revitalizing city
A special committee wants input on how to spend $335 million to help north and south Omaha.
OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - Omaha residents are invited to the discussion on how to spend millions of dollars designated to improve their neighborhoods.
A special committee wants input on how to spend $335 million to help north and south Omaha and other areas disproportionately affected by the pandemic.
From North 16th Street you can see a bit of the Omaha skyline. Lots of growth and development going on just a few blocks away, not so much along North 16th with empty storefronts and barred windows.
David Vail lives in the area and says he doesn’t like to drive outside of his neighborhood to find services.
“I like walking and I’d like something other than the liquor store down the street that’s about all we got around here,” said Vail.
A special committee has been formed to listen to David’s and other community members’ ideas on how to improve their community.
“We want to make sure whatever we do with these funds are in the best interest of the community. Whatever we decide to do is going to work for the community it’s not just us throwing things together without their input,” said McKinney.
State Senator Justin Wayne is Chairman of the Economic Recovery Special Committee. Senator Wayne says it is important that the entire community get involved in this historic moment.
“This is the first time ever that this is truly a community lead solution so we’re trying to figure out the solutions from the community where we’re not coming in and telling you what we think should happen in the community, we want the community to come out and tell us how to solve their own problems,” said Wayne.
“I would like to see investment into businesses and entrepreneurship within the community to help spur some economic change I think that’s the biggest thing that’s missing is the lack of investment in the economic side of North Omaha,” said McKinney.
Officials want to hear from the public on how to make that happen, David Vail lives on the north side of town and he has an opinion on what is needed in his community.
“I think 16th Street and 24th Street both of them were really at one time looked like they were popular and busy and now it’s just a bunch of boarded up buildings so it would be really nice to see some new businesses come in,” said Vail.
State Senator Justin Wayne says progress is being made and they’re developing an airport business park to bring jobs to the area and its working.
“We have a group of contractors that are coming together to create an association they’re actually looking for a building so they can start expanding. We have Pacific Engineering which is a federal contractor that’s coming here to Omaha, we just recruited another business hopefully we’ll announce here in the next two weeks,” said Wayne.
Senator Wayne believes the community should grow income and encourage entrepreneurship to develop wealth but input from the public is needed to reach those goals.
“Things are happening but these public hearings are so important because we don’t know everything but we really want this to be a community-driven solution,” said Wayne.
Officials hope to hear the thoughts of David and other members of the community on how to make things better.
“So it would be really nice to see some new businesses come in.”
The Economic Recovery Special Committee will listen to public testimony on the potential use of economic recovery act funds next week. Starting Monday, the first two meetings will be in South Omaha and the next two in North Omaha.
Here are the Economic Recovery Special Committee’s four meetings:
- Monday, September 19: Metropolitan Community College — South Omaha Campus, Center for Advanced Manufacturing (cam), Room 120 at 11 a.m.
- Tuesday, September 20: Metropolitan Community College — South Omaha Campus, Center for Advanced Manufacturing (cam), Room 120 at 5 p.m.
- Wednesday, September 21: Omaha Public Schools — Teacher Administration Center (TAC), Auditorium at 5 p.m.
- Thursday, September 22: Metropolitan Community College — Fort Omaha Campus, Swanson Conference Center (Building 22), Room 201 at 11 a.m.
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