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Nebraska Department of Economic Development launches next phase of Omaha recovery effort

The Nebraska Department of Economic Development is looking to narrow down over 300 applications for various Omaha revitalization projects that were submitted last year.

Department officials met with prospective applicants Tuesday afternoon in downtown Omaha to discuss new guidelines for the proposals. A set of eight categories were announced at the meeting, outlining what projects officials are looking for.

Over the course of two sessions, the Nebraska Legislature approved more than $400 million of combined federal and state dollars to go toward economic recovery projects in underserved areas of the state, primarily within North and South Omaha. Much of that funding has yet to be allocated to specific projects.

The projects were previously set to be selected by independent engineering firm Olsson, which received 367 project proposals in 2022. A follow-up bill that passed earlier this year — Legislative Bill 531 — changed that process to call on the Department of Economic Development (DED) to decide which projects would receive funding, selecting from the applications that Olsson received.

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Shereece Dendy-Sanders with DED said LB 531 also required the department to create a grant program for the recovery effort, which necessitated that they ask applicants to resubmit their proposals instead of selecting them from Olsson’s submissions.

The department launched a website available at opportunity.nebraska.gov/programs/recovery. Applications will be available soon, but a specific deadline has yet to be solidified.

DED will update the webpage with additional information, including a link to the online application and application open and close dates.

A few projects were already identified and received funding through LB 1024 last year, including about $26 million to be spread across projects elsewhere in Nebraska. Additionally, $20 million was allocated for affordable housing projects in Omaha, $30 million was dedicated to innovation hubs and $60 million

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