‘I want to stay’: Business park push continues, neighbors fear homes may vanish

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OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — This east Omaha neighborhood sits right between Carter Lake and Eppley Airfield, a slice of heaven to the people who live there. But, these neighbors fear their homes could vanish as the push for the Airport Business Park continues.

  • Residents of this East Omaha neighborhood reflect on their family history in the neighborhood and are left wondering what might happen to their homes.
  • “We don’t know which way is safer for us,” Joe Fox Jr., a resident of this East Omaha neighborhood, said.
  • Watch the video to hear from neighbors and the group behind the development.

BROADCAST TRANSCRIPT:
This neighborhood is packed with family history, dirt roads, septic tanks and a life that feels like country living but still in the city.

“We have been down there since 1940 or so, my directly family, the Fox’s,” said Joe Fox Jr., a resident of the East Omaha neighborhood. “Being down there that long, you get to know every single family near you.”

“This is my home,” said Racheal Hoefker, a resident who grew up in the neighborhood.

“My opinion is I want to stay, whether that is possible or not is something else,” said Joe Higgins, a resident in the neighborhood.

Ever since neighbors Joe Fox Jr., Racheal Hoefker and Joe Higgins learned their homes are in the path of a proposed business development, they’ve been on a search for answers.

In January, state and city leaders announced a multi-million-dollar grant for the development.

“What was that feeling like when you first heard about this,” reporter Molly Hudson asked. “Gut-wrenching,” Hoefker said.

The search for answers to the question – what will become of this neighborhood, only leads to more questions.

I took these questions to state senators Justin Wayne, and Terrell McKinney and Michael Maroney, president of the Omaha Economic Development Corporation, he’s the only one who agreed to an interview, in time for this story.

“They were proposing, as I understand it, to take the money that has been awarded, that we have been awarded for the Airport Business Park and put it in this Inland Port Authority,” Maroney said.

As the debate over who gets the money and how it will be spent ramps up, neighbors like Fox Jr. are left to wonder if there’s any way to save their home.

“We don’t know which way is safer for us,” Fox Jr. said.

Now all neighbors have is what they can tell each other as they continue to wait.

Maroney says OEDC plans to communicate its plan to neighbors but can’t until they know if the money will be there.

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