South Omaha leaders push for renovations to Plaza de la Raza

Plans are taking shape at the future Plaza de la Raza in South Omaha.
Published: Mar. 22, 2023 at 5:37 PM CDT
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - Business leaders on Wednesday took one more step for a 15-year project to turn into a reality.

They gathered to show off the designs of South Omaha’s Plaza de la Raza in hopes to turn it into an attractive destination for families, performers, and tourists.

“A lot of us went to Lincoln to advocate for funding saying hey we really need to see this COVID funding come to these communities,” said Marcos Mora, board member of the Latino Business District Board.

South Omaha business leaders keep pushing for ARPA funds in hopes to bring the project to life.

“In the meantime, we do have some funding to get started,” Mora said. “So, right now, we are in the planning phase and looking at all the cool stuff to do in the plaza.”

The goal is to renovate that 24th Street corridor and turn it into a welcoming space where people can gather.

“This was the third phase of South Omaha that never got done fifteen years ago,” Mora said.

With the funding they already have on hand, they’re taking one more step towards reality by starting their design phase.

Right now, if you walk 24th, you’ll notice the plaza is just a parking lot. They hope it will soon be transformed into an open green space that will have a new amphitheater, seating with shaded areas, and a new play area.

With all these changes to the Plaza de La Raza, they’re now looking to refurbish historical buildings on 24th Street to appeal to South Omaha’s growing number of visitors.

“A lot of people are constantly coming and pulling traffic and pulling tourism to this part of town, and with these redevelopments, we’ll see more,” Mora said.

Business leaders hope those developments resemble a community space normally found downtown.

“We love to see our neighbors have good-looking facades, and good-looking historical architecture,” Ross Pesek, chairman of South Omaha Business Improvement District said. “I think it makes people see South 24th as a destination where people can spend their Friday night or Saturday afternoon.”

South Omaha business leaders hope to receive ARPA funding this summer to help with the project.