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February 22, 2023

South Omaha Recommended to Receive Nearly $100m in ARPA Funding

A dozen nonprofit and for-profit organizations serving South Omaha have joined in unity to catalyze transformational change and long-lasting economic impact through the American Rescue Plan Act.

In 2022, the Nebraska State Legislature passed LB1024 which provides at least $335 million in funding to assist North Omaha, South Omaha, and other communities that were disproportionately impacted by the pandemic.

The dynamic collaborative of organizations include Canopy South, El Museo Latino, Front Porch Investments, Girls Inc., Latino Center of the Midlands, Latino Economic Development Council, Midwest Maintenance, Midwest Businesses and Projects, South Omaha Global Market, No More Empty Pots, Collective Development, 3 Amigas, One World, and Stephen Center.  

“Collaboration is not only key to achieving our common goal, but it’s also an opportunity to amplify our impact by leveraging the expertise of our partners,” says César García, Executive Director of Canopy South. “Working together, we can create a force for good that is greater than the sum of our individual parts.” 

Many organizations within the collaborative have been vital assets creating economic development and growth in the South Omaha community for decades, serving as cornerstones of support and assistance for local residents. These organizations have consistently demonstrated their commitment to the community through their proven track record of successful programs and initiatives that have made a positive impact on the lives of those they serve.

“We are proud to be part of this collaborative that is taking a bold and innovative approach to addressing the economic disparities faced by South Omaha residents and businesses,” said Albert Varas, CEO and  President of the Latino Center of the Midlands. “This funding will allow us to renovate our headquarters and help pave the way for greater access to education and workforce development opportunities for our  community.”

The funding recommendations prioritized applications that demonstrated project readiness, articulated the economic and community benefit, and ensured the initiative addresses the needs of the community. The collaborative effort is full of a diverse range of projects, each with its own unique size and scope, and spanning various sectors such as healthcare, workforce, business, and economic development, youth and adult education, housing, infrastructure, and tourism.

This once-in-a-lifetime funding will help create platforms that connect people to their aspirations. For instance, One World will leverage funding to develop a newly constructed healthcare workforce training center adjacent to their headquarters.

“We’re thrilled to seize this incredible opportunity to increase culturally respectful behavioral health care in South Omaha, introduce a much-needed childcare option for our employees and the community, and develop a cutting-edge health care workforce training center. This initiative will not only create a talent pipeline and prepare future employees, but also enhance the skills of our current workforce, says Andrea  Skolkin, CEO of One World. “This is an unprecedented moment for South Omaha, as we make strategic investments that will leave a lasting impact on the community. We’re committed to generating good-paying jobs and providing essential services to a neighborhood that was severely affected by the pandemic. Collaboration will bolster our abilities to bring prosperity to this vibrant community.”

Midwest Maintenance, located along the Q Street corridor, will utilize funding to develop their new headquarters. The development would consist of a five-story mixed use facility consisting of parking, commercial and office space, and residential housing units.

“True progress isn’t measured by the success of those already thriving, but by the impact we make in the most challenging of places,” says Jamie Gutierrez, CEO of Midwest Maintenance. “Let’s turn South Omaha into a beacon of hope and opportunity through our development project, and show that with determination and hard work, anything is possible.”

Eager to create new opportunities for South Omaha, one non-profit and four for-profit organizations came together to work for the long-lasting growth of the entire South Omaha area. The multi-pronged economic development project will develop two Global Market sites (42 businesses), a commercial kitchen, a tortilla factory, an ice cream factory, and apartments. This project will create eighty new jobs in the first three years of operation. “This project will support the economic and social integration, and the financial independence of low-income families in South Omaha” said Marta Sonia Londoño Mejia, the spokesperson for the 5 organizations mentioned above. 

It is imperative to assure the public and state senators that the organizations in South Omaha are well-equipped to implement the proposed projects before the deadline outlined in the bill of December 31, 2026. Each organization has the capacity, expertise, and ability to leverage this funding to catalyze economic growth and prosperity in South Omaha.

When it comes to spurring economic development and improving the lives of residents, it’s not enough to wait for things to happen on their own. Instead, we need to take an active role in creating the conditions for growth, innovation, and progress. By investing in education, housing, business development, infrastructure, and other key areas, we are laying the foundation for a brighter future for everyone – a place where prosperity is more broadly shared. Ultimately, the actions we take today will impact the lives of future generations to come.

Partners within the South Omaha Economic Recovery Collaborative include:

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