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Inland Port Authority bill passes: Neighbors just want to know what's next for their homes

Posted at 10:15 PM, Apr 17, 2024
and last updated 2024-04-17 23:15:18-04

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — The bill focused on the Inland Port Authority is on the Governor's desk but what is next for the East Omaha neighborhood in the mapped-out area of the Airport Business Park plan is still unknown.

"This neighborhood is everything to me," said Racheal Hoefker, who grew up in this East Omaha neighborhood.

It has been nearly two months since developers and state senators met with this neighborhood, which sits in the mapped-out area of the plan, to discuss the state of the Airport Business Park.

The need for community engagement was brought up, but neighbor Racheal Hoefker tells me there really hasn't been any communication since.

"We just don't know and that's the sad part about it," Hoefker said.

The legislative bill that passed on April 11 lays out how the Inland Port Authority in our city could operate, the board, committees and regular meetings.

However this legislation has sparked confusion about the future of this project.

"What I have heard is that OEDC and Burlington Capital were out of the contract and that now the contract was going to the port authority," Hoefker said.

However, the Department of Economic Development tells me it is “working on a draft of the contract with OEDC and will take into account the legislative provisions of LB 164 as part of that process.”

The City of Omaha submitted an application for the Inland Port Authority. Reporter Molly Hudson learned Wednesday, that the application had been approved.

Mayor Stothert’s office tells KMTV the next step is the mayor appointing the nine-member board and the city council approving it.

“I know for our age, it's probably to a lot of people, not a big deal, but I wasn't planning on trying to get a loan if something does happen,” Hoefker said.

The financial worry and housing availability remain top concerns for neighbors like Racheal.

"I’ve talked to my kids about it, I've asked my daughter how she feels about it, she is 8, and she drew a picture of that tree right there and at the bottom it said, the tree at our old house, like we already moved," Racheal said.

I reached out to Senator Terrell McKinney about the passage of his bill, in a statement he said,

"I am grateful that LB164 passed today. It marks a significant milestone in providing our community with a voice and enhancing accountability and transparency for the projects and resources dedicated to our community for economic recovery. This legislation is crucial in ensuring that these resources are utilized effectively for the betterment of our people and in the most efficient manner moving forward."

What we still don't know and will continue to search for, is how or if this board will change the plans for the proposed Airport Business Park and the future for these neighbors.