Now is the time for big ideas and assertive leadership in North Omaha. Let us be frank: for North Omaha, Federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) dollars are “once in a lifetime” or “transformational” funding. We must seize this opportunity—a $400-million-dollar opportunity—to recover from the social, public health, and economic impacts of COVID-19 and emerge a more vibrant and resilient North Omaha.
The pandemic has demonstrated how poverty exacerbates disparities in public health and safety outcomes for residents living in low-income and/or segregated neighborhoods. ARPA funding presents a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for North Omaha to respond to the disparities caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and improve the lives of all North Omaha residents. Therefore, our North Omaha 2022 Recovery Plan aims to address not only the systemic roots of poverty, but its symptoms as well. It will do this by rebuilding our infrastructure, uplifting our workforce, investing in high growth businesses, focusing on place-based economic development, and funding community-based violence prevention and interruption programs.
The North Omaha Recovery Plan is an opportunity for North Omaha to support and expand its existing evidence-based programs (through the acquisition of capital and investment in technical assistance), and develop a robust citywide culture of evaluation and continuous improvement.
A comparative analysis of its socioeconomic conditions shows that North Omahans, particularly Black North Omahans, will enter post-pandemic times much the same as they entered the previous six decades—as impoverished, powerless, and neglected people. Our Recovery Plan will change these conditions. Under our plan, we are turning opportunities near Eppley Airfield, 16th Street, and 30th Streets into reality. To date, we have over $15 million committed by local businesses to developing these areas. We are also encouraging job growth by giving small business owners and emerging entrepreneurs the tools they need to expand. Under our plan, we will increase home ownership and housing affordability. Specifically, we will produce 100 new single family/town homes and 200 rentals while preserving 200 homes.
Our focus on socioeconomic impact is motivated not only by the Department Treasury’s clear guidance in the Interim Rules for ARPA Funds, but also by the structural and historic challenges still evident in North Omaha.
Senator Terrell McKinney
Senator Justin T. Wayne