North Omaha's Viking Ship in need of repairs

OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT)-- A North Omaha community center is fighting to keep its doors open, the owner of the Viking Ship says they need money to repair a decades-old building.

Beth Richards says the Viking Ship has a lot of history in this neighborhood, she’s lived in the Minne Lusa area for 20 years.

“Yes it’s a landmark in the neighborhood, we love that building,” said Richards.

The building has fallen into disrepair and many improvements are needed. Owner June Blair has thought about even selling the place.

“I maybe was thinking that we’re up and going again I was dealing with some health issues and I wasn’t sure I would be able to physically handle it but that’s not the plan now,” said Blair.

Blair still faces an uphill battle. Years ago, Blair did get a grant from the Douglas County and City of Omaha Committee that gives tax money collected back to the community, but June is 78 and she hopes some help from younger people will come.

City officials say they would love to help, June just has to apply for a city grant program.

“I would certainly like to see her do something, make another application, or have someone do it for her because this is a jewel in this community this city should not use,” said Ben Gray, City Council Member.

Blair is hoping to keep the building in the neighborhood by turning it over to the next generation who can raise the necessary funds.

“I’ve got some young people that grew up in the neighborhood that have graduated from college that have different degrees related to community center type of work they’re interested in taking it over and writing some grants,” said Blair.

June tells us that one of the young people interested in the Viking Ship is a grant writer.