75 North Project Hopes To Revitalize North Omaha Neighborhood

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It's an area that had no hope for years. A crime-ridden housing project is now gone, and the "75 North" project is building hope.

Children talk about bullets like they're the boogie man.

"It hit my grandma's wall, and then it went right, and then it hit the cupboard, and then it got me," one young girl said.

But this was real, ugly senseless violence. No one was safe. Children were shot while sleeping at Grandma's house. These are just some of the memories of the Pleasant View Homes.

Housing officials stopped the violence by tearing the projects down. Now Pleasant View is gone and an empty lot is in its place. But there are plans to bring the area back to life.

Othello Meadows III is the executive director of 75 North. He sees apartments, businesses, after-school programs and businesses here in this empty field.

"We see this as almost a microcosm of a neighborhood in itself," Meadows said. "The mini neighborhood in the middle of this larger neighborhood that has been existing for years."

Gerald Sharky is ready to forget the old days around the old neighborhood. He's ready for change, and he's ready to feel safe again.

"I feel comfortable walking down the street right now by myself," Sharky said. "I think if they develop it, I think it'll become a nice neighborhood to relive. The past is the past, but the present is the present. I think it will be a nice improvement on Omaha and the whole community."

Zelma Coleman has lived in this area for close to 50 years. She says redevelopment down the street could bring something the community desperately needs.

"And another thing with that is that it's going to provide jobs for people," Coleman said. "That's what we need to do. To build everything up is to get people back to the work force."

The people of north Omaha have heard about all sorts of redevelopments plans to years, so organizers know the most important part of the plan is making sure it happens.

Organizers hope to break ground on the 75 North project by the end of 2014.