Heart of South Omaha could see major renovations in its business district

OMAHA, Neb. (Nebraska) – The heart of South Omaha may soon see some big changes in its business district. Metro community leaders and organizations see it as an unfinished project.

As you walk the sidewalks of South 24th Street you’ll notice the brightly painted buildings, tilework, and ornate lights.

The vibrant atmosphere is complemented by the music.

“24th Street is perhaps the strongest commercial corridor in South Omaha neighborhoods,” said Cesar Garcia, executive director of Canopy South.

However, what you may not know is that all these captivating details are part of a project that started fifteen years ago.

“It started with John Barrientos and RDG, they did it in stages and they did the first two stages, but the third stage was never completed and this is the Plaza del La Raza,” Mora said.

Marcos Mora is a board member of the Latino Business District Board. Mora says La Plaza del La Raza will be transformed into a gathering space for families and a place to hold community events, but that’s only part of the plan.

Another idea is to make more nearby businesses feel more connected to the 24th Street corridor by expanding tiles and details to other streets.

“The idea will be to do whatever repairs we need in this corridor and expand it to F Street,” Mora said.

They also hope to put in a garage to make it easier for people to enjoy what the busy area has to offer.

“So, our goal is to have a parking structure for our special events and our overflow, especially for the weekends,” Mora said.

For years, several South Omaha organizations have teamed up to raise enough funds to make this happen, and they think their chance has come.

Garcia believes he has a good chance of getting ARPA money to complete this project.

“Continue to provide opportunities to continue to support this community and also tourism and celebrate our culture,” Garcia said.

That means opening doors of opportunity, including with a new community center.

“A hub that has job planning, economic development, workforce development, and educational opportunities,” Mora said.

Mora said the main goal is to showcase what the Hispanic and Latino community can do for South Omaha.

South Omaha will likely hear from the state whether or not they will receive ARPA funding in the summer.

Mora and Garcia hope people will reach out to their state senators and urge them to support donating money to the project.

Metro leaders plan to meet on Monday to discuss developments on the project.

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