Sons of Italy rebuilding moving forward behind the scenes

OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) -- Two years ago, fire raced through a South Omaha landmark. [MAP]

As rebuilding started, hope grew for reopening the Sons of Italy hall. Then, as 6 On Your Side first reported, the project abruptly stopped.

For decades, Sons of Italy attracted pasta lovers and politicians hungry for votes.

"The place is near and dear to a lot of peoples’ hearts," said dan Matuella, vice president of Sons of Italy.

But rebuilding was slowed by a payment dispute between the organization's board and contractor, blocking the way for several months.

"There is light at the end of the tunnel," Matuella said. "We are moving forward. We are going to be moving at a good clip now, so no more stalemates.”

Insurance paid for fire damage but came up short — $400,000 short — of the million-dollar rebuild cost.

"We’ve been able to get some good pledges from various donors and some from our national organization," Matuella said.

The volunteer organization hired a project advocate who rebuilt the relationship with contractor and subs. He’s also organized payment plans and permits.

An email sent to about 300 Sons of Italy members said subcontractors received checks last Friday, and they signed lien waivers. Committees are now being formed to prepare for an eventual grand re-opening.

With these new developments, Matuella said he estimates within three weeks, work will resume on the project.

That means building completion by April is on the table.

"It's hard for me the speculate at this point when we’ll be able to start serving the gravy," Matuella said.

But at least the job site at 10th and Poppleton will be stirring soon.