North Omaha would get a major facelift under a sweeping proposal unanimously approved today by the City Council.
The $1.43 billion North Omaha Village Revitalization Plan would occur over three decades in an area generally bounded by Cuming Street to the south, Pratt Street to the north and 16th and 36th Streets.
It calls for such features as a pedestrian bridge to connect a community divided by the North Freeway; a green boulevard and recreation trails; a sports hall of fame; a market square and music strip; and amenities to turn the Malcolm X birthplace into an international tourist spot.
Nearly a dozen church and community leaders spoke in favor of the proposal, which was approved last month by the city's Planning Board.
"This is a need that has gone unmet for decades in north Omaha," said Kenneth Allen Sr., a pastor at Zion Baptist Church.
Ultimately, leaders hope the effort will advance education, job creation, business development, housing and transportation and create healthier families in an area that has suffered disproportionately from violence, blight and social ills.
The village revitalization plan would be done in phases — starting with a reignition of the cultural and musical history rooted in the 24th and Lake Streets area. It's hoped that will spawn tourism and residential, retail and commercial development.
Phase I, which is to be done in 10 years, would create a new public image by rebuilding three key areas: 16th and Cuming Streets into a sports and entertainment district; 24th and Lake Streets into a cultural arts district; and the Adams Park area near 31st Street and Bedford Avenue into a recreational district that also highlights the Malcolm X birthplace. The changes around 16th and Cuming are intended to make a gateway to north Omaha.
Phase II, to be done within 15 years, essentially would link the 24th and Lake district and the 16th and Cuming district with an enhanced 24th Street corridor and the “urban village” that would replace the former Omaha Housing Authority Pleasantview complex.
Phase III, to occur within 20 years, incorporates expansion of the Siena-Francis House and Catholic Charities Campus for Hope and calls for residential housing to fill in vacant areas. It includes a streetcar system through north Omaha.
Phases IV and V, on a schedule for 25 years and beyond, focus on large-scale housing construction and improvements.