We believe the strength of North Omaha lies in its people, their hopes, and their resiliency. Housing inequality, the disappearance of businesses, and the loss of job opportunities that characterized neighborhood life in the mid-20th century inspired our community members to focus on identifying sound strategies to address these issues. By 1977, the Overall Economic Development Plan for the Omaha Special Impact Area had been completed by the United Methodist Community Center/Wesley House, our founding organization. The Plan called for the creation of a Community Development Corporation – Omaha Economic Development Corporation was born to reignite the spirit of our neighbors.
We believe the strength of North Omaha lies in neighborhoods where our residents celebrate their rich history. Completed in 1923, the Jewell Building stands as one of the first substantial commercial buildings constructed in North Omaha. Its importance has grown as a landmark of African-American history in the community. Inside its walls are our shared memories of black entertainment. Today, the renovated Jewell Building provides office space for our organization as well as the NAACP, 100 Black Men, and American Harvest Company.
We believe the strength of North Omaha lies in its businesses. The Kellom Heights Shopping Center is a 23,000-square-foot commercial/neighborhood retail facility that refaced our devastated south entrance to the 24th Street North Omaha Business Corridor.
We believe the strength of North Omaha lies in the restorative value of multi-generational housing and shared green spaces. With more than 295 residential units, our neighbors at Kellom/Pilgrim Heights enjoy an array of options for singles, families, and seniors. The Kellom Project revitalized more than 40 acres of blighted property in our community. We expanded our vision with the Ville de Sante Development Area. Currently home to 120 families and seniors, this 40-acre site incorporates plans for a mix of uses in its final phase.
We believe the strength of North Omaha lies in our entrepreneurial spirit. Community stability comes when neighbors build assets and realize the benefits of a healthy economy. The restoration of our southern gateway node includes our multiphased Long School Marketplace Project. This 7-acre site fosters a mix of commercial retail uses to enhance business development and employment opportunities as part of our economic growth model.
We believe the strength of North Omaha lies in healthy neighbors and a resilient environment. We have emerged as one of the leaders for sustainable development in our community. The rehabilitation of The Margaret preserved a National Historic Landmark apartment building. We redesigned the building to produce zero greenhouse gas emissions at the site through the implementation of a solar hot water system and a geothermal system to satisfy all heating and cooling requirements. Additional interior features support the overall physical and emotional health of our tenants.
We believe the strength of North Omaha lies in homeownership. Our neighborhoods thrived when families invested in our residential properties. Our Parker Street Village Crown Program offers families who are ready for homeownership an opportunity to purchase an affordable home of their dreams. The Program also gives families who are preparing for homeownership an opportunity to move closer to their goal while leasing.
We believe today’s vision remains the same: to transform North Omaha into an economically successful and vibrant community. It remains rooted in the strength, hope, and resiliency of our neighbors. Our experiences have taught us that value comes from people and that communities can only thrive when considered holistically. We remain committed to revitalization processes that result in a socially and economically diverse community. Our newest project – The Fair Deal Village MarketPlace – is slated for completion in 2016. It will erase decades of ecological decline in the neighborhood and secure a healthy environment with the integration of green technology through renewable energy systems. Our neighbors will also benefit from the presence of artists in their community. As North Omaha returns to its historic position as a beacon for diversity, entrepreneurialism, and cultural and entertainment vibrancy, we remain committed to building community, encouraging entrepreneurship, fostering equality and respect, and achieving transformation.
We believe innovation is key to disrupting the cycle of poverty. We’ve expanded our previous economic development model, which was centered primarily on real estate transactions, to a model that works by influencing existing systems and developing new ones. We are now seeing holistic changes in the neighborhoods we serve. Leveraging our history of being a “force for good,” we have incorporated new practices and partnerships that facilitate inclusive growth. Since 2012, we’ve placed $4 million in impact investments into the commercial heart of North Omaha, launching and/or facilitating the location of 23 small businesses (for profit and not for profit), including a mid-sized urban job center, North End Teleservices, within the North 24th Street Corridor. Forty-two years into our mission, OEDC remains an outcomes-driven organization that values human potential.