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Mayor Jean Stothert | City of Omaha

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(October 3, 2016)

It’s a street that recognizes the past, provides opportunities in the present, and plans for the future.

The South 24th Street Business District between “L” and “Q” Streets has been recognized as one of the Great Streets in America by the American Planning Association. APA President Carol Rhea presented the award to Mayor Jean Stothert and City Councilman Garry Gernandt Monday in a ceremony at Plaza de la Raza.

“What better place than Omaha to celebrate our Great Streets,” said Rhea. “South 24th Street is an example of what makes streets great places.”

Each October, during National Community Planning Month, the APA recognizes streets, neighborhoods and public spaces for exceptional character, quality and planning.  Omaha is one of the 15 cities receiving the 2016 award. “Planning has a significant impact on how we live, work and play.  During this month, we highlight thoughtful, deliberate planning. I hope it serves as a catalyst for even more thoughtful planning in Omaha and other cities,” said Rhea.

Mayor Stothert recognized the collaboration between City of Omaha planners and community groups that led to the redevelopment of 24th Street.

“We recognize the history of South 24th street as the busy, prosperous main street in Omaha’s early years; rich in cultural traditions, and heritage,” said Mayor Stothert. “The small businesses that line the street today again show the fruits of hard work and determination.  Community groups provide essential services, such as job training, and tutoring.   The design of the street, the artwork, sculpture and landscape create an inviting community space.  South 24th street is truly one of our most unique spaces.”

The APA called South 24th Street a “Midwestern wonderland” that puts pedestrians first.  The award also complimented the street widening project, sidewalk mosaics, unique lighting and landscaping.

The South Omaha Neighborhood Alliance, representing thirty neighborhood associations and community groups has been instrumental in the development of South 24th Street.  SONA President Athena Ramos said, “This award is recognition of the hard work and collaborative spirit of the south Omaha community.”

The enthusiasm and optimism is shared by the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.   “This is the result of the hard work of the businesses you see here, and they are all here,” said Chamber President Yesenia Peck.  “The Hispanic Chamber of Commerce is excited and proud of our progress.”

Many of the small business owners along South 24th street attended the announcement of the Great Streets Award.  “We believe this street captures the charm of our city and Omaha is a beautiful city,” said South Omaha Business Association President Madeline Moyer.

Omaha City Council Member Garry Gernandt, a life-long resident of south Omaha, thanked all the partners involved in the planning, design and implantation of the streetscape. “One thing important to me is the We factor, we being government and neighborhood groups,” said Gernandt. “We did it!”

The other cities recognized for having “Great Streets” are Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, Ketchum, Idaho, Bronx, New York and Davidson, North Carolina.