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Old Market businesses look to reopen

Posted at 6:19 PM, Jun 03, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-03 19:19:23-04

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — The Old Market has been the site of many of the protests over recent days. On Wednesday, the Old Market Association sent out an email to members encouraging them that if Wednesday night remained peaceful they would like to get the boards off of the shops by Thursday afternoon.

Some business owners in the neighborhood started to take down the wood boards protecting their buildings.

“You take a step forward and you take a step back and hopefully we can move past this quickly and get going again,” said Chip Allen, the president of the Old Market Association.

He said there was very little, if any damage over the past few days to storefronts.

“You need to show that there is normalcy out here,” Allen said. “ Our storefronts show the face of the Old Market. You need to see in and show the activity and what is going on and the vibrancy of the neighborhood.

“It’s not the Old Market right now. It’s usually busy every day,” said an Old Market resident who didn’t want to be identified for this story. “I usually see people and talk to everybody and it is not the same.”

Owners and managers 3 News Now talked to who didn’t want to be on camera said there is still a little bit of uneasiness but said they support each other. Some businesses have chosen to continue to board up and stay closed until further notice, while a few are opening up as soon as possible.

“They need to do what is right for them and the Old Market Association will support with whatever decision that they make,” Allen said.

Allen added there has been misinformation reported on what his association can or can’t do in regards to The Gatsby bar, formerly known as The Hive.

“We are a neighborhood association, we are not an entertainment district,” Allen said. “The Old Market is an entertainment district but we’re not an entertainment district like Midtown Crossing or the Capital District where you have a commission or conglomerate that oversees or chooses who stays in the neighborhood or who goes in the neighborhood. The individual property owners have the choice in making those decisions and the Old Market Association has nothing to do with that and we respect the rights of our individual property owners and individual businesses to make that decision accordingly.”

Watch reporter Phil Bergman’s story in the above video.