Forever North to host community workshop, hopes to revitalize North 24th

Posted at 6:57 AM, Jul 30, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-30 07:57:57-04

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) - — Community organizations are working with the city of Omaha to improve one of Omaha's most iconic areas.

North Omaha's 24th Street Corridor is home to several small businesses, but the community would like to see the area grow and thrive, as it once did.

"Once upon a time, it was developed, there were a lot of businesses," Omaha Economic Development Corporation President Michael Maroney said. [There was] a lot of activity and just lot of excitement in the community."

Historians say redlining happened in North Omaha as early as the 1920s.

Redlining was the practice of institutions like banks, insurance companies, and government agencies denying loans, policies and other financial support to low-income and minority communities in a city.

"When we look at the disparities and inequities for today, they just didn't manifest," Co-Founder of Un-design the Redline April De Simone said. "We didn't wake up and find our communities severely dis invested, whether its infrastructure, whether its economy this is a long intentional process.

De Simone recently brought the Un-design the Redline Exhibit to North Omaha.

"Un-design the redline is an exhibition that starts with redlining policies and we talk about FHA policies," she said. But then we have this timeline that we put redlining in its proper historical context."

City of Omaha neighborhood planner Manuel Cook says it's had a direct impact on North Omaha's business district.

"With the highway coming through and losing all that housing, you lose that much population and businesses struggle, and it's kind of like this circle of decline in some ways," Cook said.

That's why the city and the Metropolitan Area Planning Agency want North Omaha residents to give their input on way to improve the 24th Street Corridor.

"It's really trying to get housing back and bring people back to the community," Cook said. "Then you'll have more opportunities for businesses, more support for businesses, those sorts of things."

Omaha Economic Development Corporation President Michael Maroney says, people need to use their voice to help better their once thriving area.

"If they don't have an input into it, then somebody else is going to design their community, then they're going to want to know why, what happened, how come ... so they need to be engaged," Maroney said

Cook tells us residents are also concerned about issues like gentrification, and the speed limit, something he hopes the city can address.

The City of Omaha along with the Omaha-Council Bluffs Metropolitan Area Planning Agency (MAPA) are developing the Forever North study to learn more about what the community wants.

They're encouraging community members to attend the Community Design Workshop to give feedback.

The workshop is set for Tuesday from 6-8 p.m., at the Union for Contemporary Arts.