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January 20, 2017

Building the North Omaha Village Zone

Since 2010, a coalition of community members, civic leaders and business partners have worked tirelessly to transform beleaguered areas of North Omaha into strong, vibrant neighborhoods. Together, these neighborhoods form the North Omaha Village Zone. Organizations and neighbors have linked both arms and minds to turn the North Omaha Redevelopment project vision into a reality. We are honored to join these community pioneers, which include:

  • The Empowerment Network
  • Omaha Economic Development Corporation
  • North Omaha Neighborhood Alliance
  • Nebraska Investment Finance Authority
  • 75 North

Signposts of Progress in North Omaha

The North Omaha Village Zone celebrated its sixth annual Christmas in the Village event. Every December, the heart of the Village—24th and Lake—is transformed into a winter wonderland complete with carriage rides, live music, a living nativity and more. Every year, the event grows larger, drawing more and more people into the community to showcase its vibrancy and culture.

As with many things in life, accomplishing goals take time. Markers along the way show progress is being made. The success of Christmas in the Village is just one progress marker in the North Omaha Village Zone. Other markers of success, as outlined in the Empowerment Network’s 7-Step Empowerment Plan, include objectives that we can directly impact:

  • Demolition of dilapidated homes
  • Rehab of homes
  • Address vacant lots
  • Mixed income neighborhoods
  • Rebuild targeted communities
  • Increase home ownership
  • Create strong active neighborhoods

Vision into action is both the promise and the power of our Land Bank. We bring together expertise, passion and partnership to reinvigorate Omaha’s distressed neighborhoods. As a catalyst for positive community change, we work to make Omaha an even better place to live by perpetually turning problem properties into opportunities.

Helping Omaha by Assessing, Acquiring and Disposing Properties

Even though ‘bank’ is part of our name, the Omaha Land Bank is not a bank. We don’t offer loans, open accounts or exist to make money. We are a nonprofit organization, created by and for the people of Omaha.

At our core, we, and all land banks, focus on properties that have been neglected and rejected by the open market. We acquire problem properties, eliminate their liabilities and transfer them to new owners in a manner most supportive of local needs and priorities. Doing this enables us to fulfill our mission to be a catalyst for transforming distressed neighborhoods into community assets – places where people want to live, work and play.

We are helping neighborhoods in Omaha, like the North Omaha Village Zone areas of 16th and Cuming, 24th and Lake, 30th and Lake / Parker, and Malcolm X / Adams Park by assessing, acquiring and disposing of properties. We look for properties that we can purchase and sell to developers who want to work with communities to revitalize distressed areas.

  • Properties hurting communities now that, if acquired, could prevent the spread of abandonment.
  • Properties that could hurt communities in the future by damaging nearby, healthy properties.
  • Abandoned or delinquent properties with an immediate end user.

In some cases, this might look like acquiring an abandoned, dilapidated house that’s become a danger to neighbors, demolishing it and working to transform it into a community garden or green space for families to enjoy. In other cases, we may facilitate the transformation of a block of run down office or factory buildings into needed businesses like a grocery store, Laundromat, bank, movie theater or restaurant and shopping center complex.

Omaha Land Bank Values

All of this important work would be for naught without meaningful values defining our focus and guiding our efforts. We know the best way to achieve our vision of making Omaha an even better place to live is by putting our values to work.

  • We will be transparent in the sharing of information about OMLB activities, financials and accomplishments.
  • We work with our community, taking into account the important work already in progress to support the self-defined needs and priorities of Omaha’s hardest hit communities.
  • We will form partnerships with community members and organizations that grow, sustain and support our mission.
  • We will embrace our city’s rich heritage and transform failing neighborhoods into opportunities.

Our team understands that much work is already in progress in transforming our distressed communities. We know we ourselves don’t have all the answers, or resources, so we work with community members, neighbors and organizations already working to creating change.

Most importantly, satisfying, lasting change will only happen as we work together. That’s why forming partnerships and working with the community are two of our core values. We don’t just want to hear from you, we need to hear from you.

 

What areas or properties in your neighborhood do you want to see transformed? What street or block is ready for opportunity to move in?