The words “common,” “communication” and “leadership” came up a lot when about 20 volunteers from more than 10 midtown Omaha neighborhoods came together Tuesday night.
So did the word “money.”
The people had been asked to identify the purposes and needs of neighborhood groups in Omaha.
Their many ideas included identifying and solving common problems, communicating with one another and city government, developing leaders and leadership skills, and obtaining such resources as grant money and training.
The gathering, at the University of Nebraska at Omaha, was the second in a series of neighborhood forums. The first took place Sept. 11 in Benson.
They're part of an effort to develop a strategy for supporting neighborhoods after the February closing of the Omaha Neighborhood Center.
The center was a go-to place for neighborhood groups to “build capacity,” said Rob Moore, who is working on the project for the Mayor's Office.
Among other things, the center helped the groups attract and serve more members, find and obtain grants and other funding, and train to be better leaders, Moore said.
The center's closing left a hole.
The current effort is being coordinated by the United Neighborhood Alliances of Omaha and facilitated by the UNO Consortium for Organizational Research and Evaluation. The city, under then-Mayor Jim Suttle, contracted with UNO for the $11,000 project, using money that had been set aside for the Neighborhood Center.
Earlier this summer, Neighborhood Alliance leaders took part in focus groups, and then neighborhood association leaders answered an extensive survey.
The UNO researchers will assemble the information and give it to the Mayor's Office and leaders of Omaha's six neighborhood alliances. That report is due in mid-November.
“Then the United Alliances will come together and decide what the next solid steps should be,” said Diana Failla, Midtown Neighborhood Alliance president.
She declined to speculate in advance of the other forums on what those steps might be.
Four more forums, open to anyone, are scheduled:
• Oct. 3: Salvation Army Kroc Center, 2825 Y St., 7 p.m.
• Oct. 10: Northwest Precinct Headquarters, 10245 Wiesman Drive, 7 p.m.
• Oct. 17: Millard Public Library, 13214 Westwood Lane, 7 p.m.
• Oct. 24: Turning Point Campus, 3223 N. 45th St., 6 p.m.