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2006.08.07 > For Immediate Release
contact: Tim Kaldahl - University Affairs
phone: 402.554.3502 - email: tkaldahl@mail.unomaha.edu

Revised Overall Economic Development Plan Now Released

Omaha -A new report by the University of Nebraska at Omaha’s (UNO) Center for Public Affairs Research (CPAR) provides both a snapshot of economic conditions in North Omaha and a meaningful outline for future community plans.  The 2005 Revised Overall Economic Development Plan (OEDP) was done in collaboration with the Omaha Economic Development Corporation (OEDC).

“This document puts it all into a great perspective,” said Michael Maroney, OEDC president.  “As a city, we need to look at issues of education, employment, income and transportation in North Omaha.  Too often people and organizations have tried to address just one part of a problem.  All of what this report looks into is linked, and an overall plan is needed.”

OEDC was established in 1977.  The OEDP report generated by CPAR is the first major plan revision in 27 years.  The OEDP general service area is bounded by Ames Avenue on the north, 16th and 13th Streets on the east, Cuming Street on the south and 40th Street on the west.

“In that area, we’ve seen the population numbers decline, but it seems to be stabilizing,” said Bob Blair, a UNO associate professor of public administration and co-author of the report.  “We also know, in general, that income lags the rest of the city, and that while education levels have improved over time, they are still lower than in the rest of the county.”

Other general findings:

* The OEDP general service area’s unemployment rate is four to five times greater than the rest of Omaha and Douglas County;

* Lack of transportation limits employment choices and options; \There are more jobs in the service area than there are people who live in the area; and

* There are a declining number of housing units, but a relatively large number of building permits issued for new construction.

“Economic development has been a major issue for the city, and it has made a difference, particularly downtown,” Maroney said.  “Omaha’s corporate and civic leaders need to see that a better, stronger North Omaha is good for our whole community.”

In addition to Blair, Jerry Deichert, director of CPAR, and Heather Bloom, CPAR research associate, worked for several months on the OEDP with assistance from Jordan Fuller, graduate assistant. 

“We know OEDC’s staff and board will take what has been put together to continue their analysis and discussion of issues,” Blair said.  “The information will be used for development plans and strategies.”

Strategies and goals that are addressed in the OEDP:

* Economic and business development

Job creation and income generation

Capital formation

Industrial and commercial development

Business development

Land assemblage

* Housing and community development

Residential development

Land assemblage

* Organizational development and capacity building

Organizational financial capacity building

Resource development

Community relations development

Program development

“These strategies and goals will evolve over time,” Maroney said.  “What we can’t afford to do is waste time.  The area we are looking at has faced challenges since before the OEDC came into existence.  That is simply too long, and people need to see meaningful change happening not in the near future, not soon, but now.”

For more information, call (402) 346-2300. 

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