Olde Towne Elkhorn moving forward with...

Posted at 9:53 PM, Dec 03, 2015
and last updated 2015-12-03 22:53:18-05

Business is booming in Olde Towne Elkhorn.  Over the past few years the thriving arts and shopping district has made a name for itself. 

“We could be the next Dundee, it's awesome,” said Kimba Hawks.

A year ago Kimba Hawks opened up Kimba’s Touch Pottery on Main Street.  Hawks never pictured business being so good.

“I’ve got over 26 students, we had to add a new table, we had to add two new wheels.  It is going gang busters,” said Hawks. 

Hawks does have one complaint about her spot.

“Get rid of these nasty old sidewalks that are dangerous,” said Hawks.

Other business owners agree.

“The sidewalks are terrible, we need new lighting,” said Carl Anderson.

Last year the City of Omaha offered $800,000 in TIF money to help the area make some major improvements.  A master plan is in place and business owners decided to take the improvements a step further. 

“Business owners have decided we would be willing to contribute a little bit extra per year to help the betterment of down here,” said Anderson.

Old Towne Elkhorn established a Business Improvement District meaning business owners in Olde Towne Elkhorn will pay an additional tax to fund projects within the district’s boundaries. But, the district includes residential homes which will also be taxed. 

“I don't have a business in town, so it does nothing for me,” said William Edwards.

The city says homeowners like William Edwards will pay about $2 per square street footage, that ranges from $50-200 extra a year. 
“We've been here 45 years and never had to put up with that,” said Wiliams.

Carl Anderson the owner of Little Scandinavia says business owners tried to consider everyone’s best interest when applying for the Business Improvement District.

“I understand that none of us ever want to pay more, but we are going to try to give them a lot of value for whatever extra they are going to have to pay,” said Anderson.

The Business Improvement Money will pay for things such as area security, more lighting and improved landscape. 

Anderson assures homeowners the added yearly tax will help increase the value of their properties overtime.