Neighbors of former Fairmont Creamery building want eyesore taken care of

A vacant Old Market building has fallen into such disrepair, neighbors are worried of the hazards it presents.
Published: Jun. 5, 2023 at 10:30 PM CDT
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - Standing since the turn of the last century, the current condition of the vacant Fairmont Creamery building at 12th and Jackson has been churning complaints from its Old Market neighbors.

“I want whoever owns this building to come down, clean it up, secure it, so people can’t get in and out of here,” said resident Cynthe Johnson. “And I don’t want it to be an eyesore when all the people come for the College World Series.”

An unlocked swinging gate and torn-away door cover leave the vacant building open to squatters. Aaron Wojtkiewicz makes sure none are inside this time.

“There were a couple of folks back in the corner when I came in a couple of days ago when I saw the gate open, and it looked like their campsite,” he said.

The neighbors worry about more than a hole in security. Just inside the open gate is a collapsed sidewalk with no warning signs -- especially dangerous for nighttime visitors.

Neighbors say it’s not just the depth of this open hole that concerns them, which is easily accessed by the open gate, but also symbolically, what they see inside. They say it’s not the American way to let a building with so much history deteriorate.

“I don’t like it, it’s gotten worse,” said Larry Richling. “All of a sudden all the fence stuff is down. The gate’s open and there are holes in the ground.”

Omaha’s superintendent of permits and inspections says the city received a complaint June 1 -- so an inspection is on the way soon.

“These bricks can tumble off and hit somebody, hit somebody’s car, there’s just more of the hazards,” said neighbor Steve Raglin.

Next door, Hollywood Candy’s owner expects a surge in business from CWS fans -- but anyone taking a picture with Big Boy won’t have a very sweet background.

“We work hard to make sure the outside of our business looks great, and unfortunately 50 yards to the south of us, a huge eyesore for us down here,” he said.

Neighbors would like to see the property made more secure with plenty of “no trespassing” signage replacing the graffiti. They also want the dangerous hole covered after Old Glory is respectfully recovered -- and, maybe someday, will fly above a restored Fairmont Creamery.

6 On Your Side found a West Omaha corporation called Seven Oaks Investments is responsible for the building. The person answering the company phone told us a sale is being negotiated and a potential buyer is doing his due diligence. We asked about securing the property and were told it will be taken care of.