Mayor Stothert Town Hall Meetings

Omaha Mayor Jean Stothert has a series of town hall meetings beginning Monday.

This is the second year of the Mayor’s town hall meetings. They’re an opportunity to discuss city issues with the public in venues throughout the city.  A city councilperson will be at each event along with various members of Mayor’s staff and department directors.

The first town hall is Monday at the Benson Library. The rest of the schedule is as follows:

  • September 22nd, Charles Washington Library
    Ben Gray will attend
  • October 8, Willa Cather Library
    Chris Jerram will attend
  • October 20, Millard North High School (tentative location)
    Rich Pahls will attend
  • October 22, Kroc Center
    Garry Gernandt will attend
  • October 27, Saddlebrook Library
    Aimee Melton will attend
  • October 30, Swanson Library
    Franklin Thompson will attend

All meetings begin at 7 pm.

South Omaha Neighborhood Mini Grants are Live and Ready for You to Apply

Hey Neighbors,

South Omaha Neighborhood Alliance wants to remind you that we have funds available for neighborhood based projects in South Omaha. We created this mini grants program for ease of access year round that your group can tap into to meet new neighbors, strengthen the brand of your neighborhood, and put your ideas into action.

If you have an idea for a Mini-Grant project, email info@sonaomaha.org or call us at (402) 884.6892. We’ll send along an application/info form and answer any questions you might have. Or you can download and print it in the link below.

SONA Neighborhood Mini Grants Pilot

Applications are reviewed quarterly by the SONA Mini-Grant Council, comprised of local citizens and activists of the South Omaha Community. Funds are limited and are on first come first serve basis, so apply soon!

Thanks for All You do for South Omaha!

Registration Now Open for IN the Neighborhood Conference

Save the date!  Friday, October 10 and Saturday, October 11 the Metro area is set to host its first ever Neighborhoods Conference.  The two-day Iowa/Nebraska (IN) the Neighborhood Conference will be held at Metro Community College’s South Omaha Campus.  Friday will feature neighborhood tours in both Omaha and Council Bluffs.  Saturday will start off with opening remarks from Omaha Mayor Jean Stothert and Council Bluffs Mayor Matt Walsh.  The Luncheon Keynote Speaker is Gus Newport, a nationally renowned community activist who encourages neighborhood planning from the “bottom up, not top-down.”  Additional workshop speakers include neighborhood advocate and Creighton University Law Professor Kate Mahern, and Empowerment Network President Willie Barney.   Morning and afternoon breakout sessions will cover a range of topics from Neighborhood Identity & Connectivity in a Regional Context to Raising Poultry in the City.   

To register for the IN the Neighborhood Conference, visit www.intheneighborhood.org.  Early bird registration ends on September 21. 

Contact:
Liz Birkel-Leddy
402-444-5150 ext. 2034
Liz.Birkel-Leddy@cityofomaha.org

Proposed 2015 City Budget Includes Funding for Neighborhood Support

(Note: the following update was prepared by the United Neighborhood Alliances of Omaha.)

The City of Omaha’s proposed 2015 budget includes a $50,000 line item for neighborhood support.

Since the closing of the Neighborhood Center’s Omaha office in February 2013, representatives from the city’s six neighborhood alliances have been meeting to discuss how to best address the needs of Omaha’s neighborhoods.

This volunteer task force, known as the United Neighborhood Alliances of Omaha, includes representatives from the Benson-Ames Alliance, Midtown Neighborhood Alliance, North Omaha Neighborhood Alliance, Northwest Omaha Neighborhood Alliance, South Omaha Neighborhood Alliance and Southwest Omaha Neighborhood Alliance.

Early on in the process, the task force commissioned the University of Nebraska at Omaha’s Consortium for Organizational Research and Evaluation (CORE) to conduct an assessment of neighborhood need in the city. The assessment included four components:

  • Focus groups with neighborhood alliance leaders
  • A survey of neighborhood alliance and neighborhood association leaders
  • Six community forums (one in each alliance area)
  • Case studies of neighborhood programs in cities similar to Omaha (Louisville, Oklahoma City, Indianapolis, Kansas City, St. Louis and Minneapolis)

Prior to collecting the case study data, the research team identified four possible organizational approaches to neighborhood assistance programs or centers:

  • A separate 501(c)(3) not-for-profit entity is created with a permanent staff and budget, and a board of directors provides direction to its programs and activities.
  • Services to neighborhood associations are provided by the coordinating efforts of a strong, grassroots group of alliances. The alliances independently provide the locus of neighborhood development and advocacy.
  • Neighborhood alliance leaders serve as the majority of members on a board of directors of a permanently staffed center that provides assistance and programming to neighborhood associations.
  • City employees in the planning or community development office, the mayor’s office or a separate agency provide assistance with neighborhood development and function as advocates for neighborhood associations and groups.

Based on its findings, CORE developed six recommendations to consider when deciding on next steps:

  • The loss of the Neighborhood Center created a void that needs to be filled.
  • Neighborhood associations need support to maintain their viability and sustainability (this support could be funding, organizational development and/or administrative support).
  • Omaha’s neighborhood alliances should play a more active role in the operation, development and mentoring of neighborhood associations. They should be advocates for Omaha’s neighborhood associations.
  • There needs to be a more structured relationship with the City of Omaha with a stable base of funding.
  • In addition to neighborhood associations, neighborhood alliances and the City of Omaha, other stakeholders who have interests in neighborhoods must be identified.
  • Neighborhood Scan can be an effective tool to help understand neighborhood conditions, but before it is implemented, the neighborhood has to be adequately informed of its purpose, and the neighborhood association cannot be viewed as a code enforcement agency.

As the next step in this strategic process, the task force has proposed the Omaha Neighborhood Engagement (ONE) initiative, whose mission will be to actively facilitate the development of neighborhoods in the City of Omaha with a professional staff focused on advocacy, development and education for Omaha’s neighborhood alliances and associations.

Pending approval of the city’s proposed $50,000 in neighborhood support for 2015, an additional $100,000 in private support must be secured to launch the ONE initiative. An update on the ONE initiative will be provided following the Omaha City Council’s Aug. 25 vote on the 2015 budget.

Land Bank ordinance before City Council 7/22

Omaha is facing a crisis. Vacant, abandoned and tax-delinquent lots and structures litter our city resulting in depressed property values and loss of property taxes. The perceived and real lack of investment compounds feelings of despair and poor self-image in many of the hardest hit neighborhoods. These conditions create havens for crime and present significant challenges to attaining a good quality of life. 

Currently, more than 7,000 parcels in Omaha have some level of code violation, including more than 700 structures with demolition orders and nearly 4,000 parcels with an “unfit/unsafe” designation (meaning they are uninhabitable and in need of significant repair). More than half of these violations are concentrated in neighborhoods east of 42nd Street in North, South and Midtown Omaha. More than 25,000 parcels are vacant across Douglas County (including new lots). As of June 2013, delinquent property taxes and special assessments totaled $1,377,109.61. According to the Center for Community Progress, different combinations of these conditions lower nearby property values anywhere from 2.1 to 9.4 percent.

Land Bank Case Statement

LandBankDemoMap

Land Bank Ordinance

 

 

Omaha Area Fireworks/Gun Amnesty Day

July 4th will be the last day this season to legally use “consumer fireworks” in the City of Omaha.   The Omaha Police Department will be hosting a Metro Area Fireworks/Gun Amnesty Day on Saturday July 12, 2014 from 9:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. for those who have fireworks/guns that they would like to properly dispose of.   The event will be held at two locations in the metro area and will accept all fireworks, ammunition and guns with no questions asked.

Locations:

Omaha Fire Station #43, 5505 North 103rd Street

Seymour Smith Park, 72nd and Harrison Street

Those participating in the event will be the Omaha Police Department, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, La Vista Police Department, Ralston Police Department, Omaha Fire Department, Papillion Police Department, Bellevue Police Department, Ralston Volunteer Fire Department, Nebraska State Fire Marshal and Omaha Public Works Department.

The Fireworks/Gun Amnesty Day has many goals that would be beneficial for public participation.  The day gives the public the opportunity to dispose of fireworks, firearms, ammunition, or any other explosive devices at a safe location with no questions asked.  The operation will also give authorities the opportunity to educate the public on the dangers of fireworks and other explosives.

Note:  If you have a firearm you would like to dispose of, it is helpful if they are unloaded, but it is not necessary.  If you are unable to unload the gun, or are unsure if it is loaded, please ask for help before you remove it from your vehicle.

Due to the anonymous nature of this event, we would ask that no video footage is shot of people taking part in the amnesty event.  There will be an opportunity to film the fireworks and guns collected at the Police Impound Lot, 78th and F Street, at 3:30 p.m.  There will also be opportunities to interview officers involved in the operation.  

 

Fireworks safety information can be found on the following websites: 

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives:  www.atf.com

National Council on Fireworks Safety:  www.fireworksafety.com

 

General rules concerning fireworks in the State of Nebraska:

Omaha Municipal codes:  http://library.municode.com/index.aspx?clientId=10945

State statute definitions: http://uniweb.legislature.ne.gov/laws/statutes.php?statute=28-1241

Unlawful throwing: http://uniweb.legislature.ne.gov/laws/statutes.php?statute=s2812042000

Importation into state: http://uniweb.legislature.ne.gov/laws/statutes.php?statute=s2812048000

 

For more information contact Sergeant Matt Manhart at 402-444-5626, 402-505-0937 or mmanhart@ci.omaha.ne.us.

Coffee with a Cop at Louie M’s on Monday July 7

Coffee with a Cop is a simple concept; Police and community members come together in an informal, neutral space to discuss community issues, build relationships, and drink a cup of coffee. In over 175 cities and towns in 36 states, Coffee with a Cop has improved community trust, police legitimacy and partnership building.

One of the keys to Coffee with a Cop’s success is that it removes the physical barriers and crisis situations that routinely define interactions between police officers and community members. Instead, Coffee with a Cop allows for a relaxed, informal one-on-one interaction in a friendly atmosphere.

The Southeast Precinct is hosting Coffee with a Cop on Monday, July 7, 2014, from 8 to 9 a.m. at Louie M’s, 1718 Vinton Street.

 

Stop in for breakfast or a cup of coffee, and meet the officers that work in the area.

 

National Night Out registration form

NNO

National Night Out (NNO) is an annual event designed to strengthen our communities by encouraging neighborhoods to engage in stronger relationships with each other and with their local law enforcement partners.  Whether it’s your first time planning an event or you’re continuing a tradition of years on your block, please register your party.

If you are interested in having a NNO party, please complete the the form attached below and return to Ofelia Robles at the Southeast precinct via email,mail or fax.  If you intend to email this form, please complete it save it and then email as an attachment.

Instructions: If you are interested in having a NNO party, please complete the above form and return to your Precinct Crime Prevention Specialist via e-mail, mail, or fax. If you intend to email this form, please complete it, save it, and then email it as an attachment. Please contact your Precinct Crime Prevention Specialist if you have any questions.

Northwest: Bridget Fitzpatrick
Fax: 402-444-5758, Phone: 402-444-6478
10245 Wiesman Dr., Omaha, NE 68134
Email: Bridget.fitzpatrick@ci.omaha.ne.us

Southwest: Stacy Westbrook
Fax: 402-444-4190, Phone: 402-444-7928
9864 M St., Omaha, NE 68127
Email: Stacy.westbrook@ci.omaha.ne.us

Northeast: Theola Cooper
Fax: 402-444-5648, Phone: 402-444-3367
4316 N. 30 St., Omaha, NE 68111
Email: Theola.cooper@ci.omaha.ne.us

Southeast: Ofeila Robles
Fax: 402-444-4222, Phone: 402-444-7743
2475 Deer Park Blvd., Omaha, NE 68105
Email: Ofelia.robles@ci.omaha.ne.us

National Night Out Registration Form

 

 

 

Spring Lake CSO Notes from public meeting

Comments from the Spring Lake Neighborhood Association

Compiled by SLNA President, Janet Bonet 4/29/2014

REQUESTS FOR THE SPRING LAKE PARK POND PROJECT

USE OF THE REPLACEMENT TREES

First, we feel there are far more trees and shrubs being removed that should have been counted as part of the

replacement equation. It is the current thick canopy that is so important for the birds and we hope that the plantings

done in the pond construction area will be finished in such a way that the birds will have as thick a canopy again so they

return and thrive. We had nesting pairs of hawks and owls in the pond area for decades and it would be a shame if we

never see them again. The Neotropical migration of grosbeaks, crossbills, orioles, and others is a wonderful part of living

on the edge of a thickly forested park.

The Spring Lake Neighborhood Association has been trying to get some beautification done on the southwest and

northwest corners of the intersection of 13th

Avenue from 13th

We are requesting that some of the trees/shrubs that have to be removed for the pond project be replaced in this

Missouri Avenue segment. The neighborhood association had worked with a landscape architect a couple years ago but

we did not like or approve the design she came up with and she was unable to meet with us and change it before she

moved to another city. The association would like to work with the Omaha Parks Department to come up with a simple

planting plan that allows for some shade trees and tall shrubs (for hiding the cement wall on the southwest corner) to be

placed in the mentioned areas.

The hill between 14th

horrible from spring to fall. The wildflowers that were planted in the space between the access road and Missouri

Avenue are mowed each time they are just starting to bloom so we never have been able to see them be anything but

chopped off. Though they do survive drought better than turf even if we never see them in bloom.

Beautifying this area will help to put a really nice finishing touch to the replacement plantings to be done in the rest of

the park.

We support the plantings for Lynch, Deer Hollow and the area south along 13th

that the area around the 13th

importance of the intersection as a gateway to Omaha. A number of trees were lost in that area when the bridge was

redone and the pond project replacement trees offer an opportunity for regaining some shade there. Doing so will

relieve the neighborhood association of the difficult task of scraping together funding to beautify these corners. We

hope that the City and CSO contractors will work with the neighbors on improving the corners.

The area in the park where three trees were lost to severe winds several years ago along the “J” Street right-of-way from

to 14th

15th

Street should be replaced as well, using the pond replacement trees. There are several trees in the far south

section of the park now marked with numbers and we do not know what that means. If any are to be removed, those

should be replaced in that same area.

As part of the park overhaul, it will be important to get a qualified arborist into the park to schedule and carryout proper

trimming of the trees throughout the park – with minimal removal.

and Missouri Avenue including the strip along the north side of Missouri

to 15th

Street.

and 15th

Street along the access road is butchered every year by the mowing team and it looks

by Mount Vernon Gardens but believe

and Missouri intersection should take priority given the proximity to the park and the

1 | Page SLNA comments 4/29/14

EXTENDING/COMPLETING THE WAKING/BIKING TRAIL

There have been several questions about what the planting plan is for the replacement of trees removed along Spring

Lake Drive from “I” Street to 13th

of 13th

Street. It was a real shame that the sidewalk was not moved farther away from 13 street to create the space for

snow mounds without blocking pedestrian access to the sidewalk. If that sidewalk along 13th

work, can it please be moved west to make pedestrian access to the sidewalk safer year-round? And can there please be

a sidewalk added to complete the walking/biking trail between “I” Street and 13th

THE ILLEGAL DUMP AREAS ON THE NORTH EDGE OF THE PARK

It is essential that these illegal dump sites be cleared before the park pond project is completed. It only makes fiscal

and logistical sense for these areas to be cleaned out while the heavy equipment can be used before plantings, parking

and trails are installed. Douglas County is supposed to be in charge of illegal dump sites and hopefully they have been

included as a partner in the effort to clear the decades of trash left by careless people.

WATERING PLAN AND MOWING

In the past, the neighborhood association in conjunction with Keep Omaha Beautiful and OPPD did some tree planting in

the park. Most of the trees died due to lack of watering. Given the tough weather – wind storms and drought, it will be

essential that the replacement trees and shrubs be put on a watering plan that is respected and fulfilled. There are fire

hydrants all around the park that could supply the water but the contractors will need to be very careful how they open

and shut off the water flow so as to avoid burst pipes such as the incident that happened on 14th

years ago.

You can walk around the trees in the south end of the park now and see the consequences of careless mowing. Trees

planted now must be respected by the mowing crews. Those huge mowers may make quick work of mowing a park but

the bigger the mower, the more likely the damage to trees. A wider and thicker mulch band around the trees should be

possible with all the trees being cut there is a huge amount of mulch that will be available. Can it be used in the park as

well?

F STREET BUTTRESSING AND THE SPRING SOUTH OF IT

The messy clear-cut done along “F” Street caused quite a knee-jerk reaction among neighbors and those who use that

route. We had been told there would be no work done south of “F” Street until a later phase of the project. We were

expecting three water feature “eco-zones” from this pond project. The wetland, the pond and the stream environments

which would offer excellent and unique opportunities for public enjoyment and environmental education. It is the

very real desire of the park neighbors and visitors that this original concept be followed through as the project moves

forward. If there is any engineering magic that can be worked where the stream south of “F” Street can be kept intact,

that is the preferred option. IF there is really no other option – after real study has been done and creativity tapped –

then please pipe-up only as small a portion of the stream as possible and be sure the ends of the pipe are made to seem

to be “natural” and not sewer-like.

In a meeting with John Royster and Ned Tramp, I mentioned that the sidewalk along F street is substandard and that if

there are no trees and shrubs to demarcate the edge, then pedestrian safety has to be considered and a fence of some

kind should be placed along both sides of F Street. There needs to be some kind preventative measure as well that will

ensure the buttress is not used as a trailbike route or as a sledding slope. Any treeless slope is open game for sledding.

Thank you to the design team for protecting the little Eden in the ravine just north and west of F Street. It is a really

charming spot and many small birds do use the area for water, food, shelter and nesting material.

Street. And can more replacement trees be used to create shade along the west side

is to be torn up for CSO

Street.

and “J” Street two

2 | Page SLNA comments 4/29/14

SOME QUESTIONS I HAVE BEEN ASKED:

1. Can the piers being placed on the pond for fishing include a rounded end and rails with a couple of benches or

stools for sitting on and enjoying the pond?

2. Will there be wildlife signage for letting people know what birds, critters and water fowl they might see?

3. How many cars will be able to park near the pond?

4. What ADA access will there be?

5. What considerations have been taken for protecting the bat habitat?

6. Will there be a boardwalk across the wetland area?

7. Is the swimming pool going be open during the pond construction?

8. Will there be a sidewalk on both sides of F Street? If not, why not?

9. Can there be a wildflower area?

10. What kind of picnic areas will there be insight of the pond?

11. Will there be a playground area near the pond?

12. Will there be an aerator fountain in the pond?

13. If the current seeps and streams are buried or under the pond, where will that water go?

14. Will there be any lighting around the pond?

15. What kind of fish are going to be in the pond?

16. How many will a fisherman be able to catch and can he keep the fish to eat?

17. Will we need a license to fish in the pond?

3 | Page SLNA comments 4/29/14

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