Today, Governor Jim Pillen held press conferences in North Omaha and South Omaha to announce historic state investments into both communities, totaling more than $234 million.
The investments were made through the North and South Omaha Recovery Grant (NSORG) Program, administered by the Nebraska Department of Economic Development (DED). The NSORG Program was established through the Economic Recovery Act, enacted in 2022 (LB 1024) and amended in 2023 (LB 531). The program’s purpose is to respond to the negative impact of the coronavirus pandemic and to build resilient and innovative communities in Omaha.
“From urban neighborhoods to our most rural counties, the state is supporting entrepreneurship and the creation of great career opportunities for our graduates,” said Gov. Pillen. “Leaders in North and South Omaha are building thriving communities where the future is tremendously bright. Today’s grants provide an infusion of capital that will multiply the influence of local organizations as they propel Omaha forward.”
At each award announcement, DED Director K.C. Belitz congratulated grant recipients and thanked state senators and state teammates for their thoroughness in managing the NSORG program. This process included holding meetings to gather public input, offering live technical assistance workshops, reviewing proposals and applications, interviewing small business proprietors, conducting economic impact analyses, and hosting regular office hours at DED’s North and South Omaha field offices to assist constituents with questions about the NSORG Program.
Carmen Tapio, president and CEO of North End Teleservices is among the North Omaha grant recipients. She joined Gov. Pillen, Omaha Mayor Jean Stothert and other grant awardees for today’s announcement at the Fort Omaha Campus of Metro Community College. She noted that funding would act as a catalyst for economic opportunity in the community.
“Our Forever North” project will anchor North End Teleservices in North Omaha with a new global headquarters, creating new careers and opportunities for North Omaha residents,” said Tapio. “We are excited that this mixed-use development takes a comprehensive community development approach by connecting childcare, retail, and multi-family housing opportunities to the 24th and Lake neighborhood.”
Addressing a crowd at the Livestock Exchange Building in South Omaha, grant recipient Cesar Garcia shared his gratitude for the support he received working with DED and the impact that will take place, because of the funding.
“This crucial allocation of funding will play a pivotal role in realizing several long-standing projects that have been in the pipeline for years,” said Garcia, executive director of Canopy South. “With these resources, we are empowered to address the pressing needs expressed by our community, fostering positive economic change and sustainable development in South Omaha.”
State senators Tony Vargas and Mike McDonnell also joined Gov. Pillen at the announcement in South Omaha – highlighting the transformative potential of the NSORG awards in their districts. Both senators are members of the Legislature’s Economic Recovery Special Committee, which oversaw the initial solicitation of project proposals under the Economic Recovery Act.
“This funding and these projects are going to be transformational for North and South Omaha,” said Senator Vargas. “It’s been so rewarding working with my colleagues in the legislature and in the Ricketts and Pillen administrations to get this across the finish line over the past couple of years, and it shows that we can truly accomplish great things for our communities when we work together towards a common goal.”
“Today marks a groundbreaking moment as we unveil Nebraska’s most significant economic partnership, a transformative force for both North and South Omaha. South Omaha was once known as the Magic City and this initiative will help bring that magic back. It embodies a profound commitment to enhance lives and revitalize these vital communities,” noted Senator McDonnell. “Our unprecedented support goes beyond merely celebrating the past glory of the Magic City. It’s about building a resilient foundation for future generations, ensuring that the American dream flourishes in every corner of North and South Omaha, enabling all residents to live, thrive, and cherish their share of this dream.”
President and CEO of the Greater Omaha Chamber Heath Mello also shared his appreciation for the determination and dedication that preceded today’s announcements.
“On behalf of the Greater Omaha Chamber, we cannot thank Governor Pillen, state senators Terrell McKinney, Justin Wayne, Mike McDonnell, and Tony Vargas and the Nebraska Legislature enough for their leadership in making historic economic recovery investments in North and South Omaha,” said Mello. “This unprecedented level of support heralds a new era of growth and collaboration, lighting the path towards a more vibrant and prosperous future for North and South Omaha.”
North and South Omaha Recovery Grant Program – Awards and Impact
Grants through the NSORG Program are supporting 53 projects across six funding categories:
- Placemaking Infrastructure
- Entrepreneurship & Innovation
- Youth, Talent & Workforce Development
- Sports & Tourism
- Arts, Culture, & Social Assistance
- Recovery Assistance Program for Immediate Distribution (RAPID)
Additionally, DED has offered grants of at least $50,000 each to 77 small businesses through a seventh funding category (Small Business Support) within the NSORG Program. These grants, representing over $46 million in immediate impact, are benefiting small businesses in qualified census tracts and economic redevelopment areas in North and South Omaha.
DED anticipates that the NSORG Program awards, through their combined impact, will help create over 9,250 jobs – an estimated 4,662 permanent jobs and 4,607 temporary jobs – in North and South Omaha over the next five years.
For more information about the North and South Omaha Recovery Grant Program, visit DED’s website at: https://opportunity.nebraska.gov/programs/recovery/nsorg/