We’re Proud to Be in Kountze Park This Week
This year’s Home Builders Blitz holds special meaning as Habitat for Humanity of Omaha’s fourth and final time hosting the house building extravaganza in Kountze Park. As volunteers and local builders come together to construct eight homes during the 12th annual event, we’re taking a walk down memory lane to reminisce about our multi-year partnership with this incredible North Omaha neighborhood.
Kountze Park is the site of one of Habitat Omaha’s first blighted home demolitions in 2011. Then, in 2013, we received a donation of several properties along 23rd Street. This series of events prompted us to begin exploring other opportunities to acquire and build quality, affordable homes in the area.
Kountze Park has since become the site of Habitat Omaha’s largest and most geographically focused development project to date. Thanks to partnerships with numerous community stakeholders from nonprofit, public and business sectors, the effort has created a model for other successful neighborhood revitalization efforts in Omaha and beyond.
Since 2014, the Kountze Park neighborhood revitalization has led to the demolition of 36 condemned houses, construction or renovation of 70 homes, 131 repairs/beautification projects and restoration of the neighborhood association. Foundational to each of these projects are neighborhood residents and community members who have volunteered their time and resources to bring new vitality to this historic spot in our city.
These are people like Kaia who wanted to combat stereotypes about the neighborhood where she was raised and be a catalyst for improvements. In 2015, she saw crews gathered for the second Kountze Park Builders Blitz, walked over the site and asked, “How can I get involved?” Kaia spent the rest of the week helping out whenever she was needed.
Through Builders Blitz, we were also fortunate to meet long-time Kountze Park resident Edwina. She’s been a fierce advocate for continued investment in the area, talking to the City Council, potential donors, and others about the importance of maintaining momentum for the revitalization project, bringing more families to the neighborhood and building community among its neighbors. Some of those new families are Habitat Omaha homeowners like Klo Wah and her children, who volunteered during a Builders Blitz as part of the Charles Drew Health Center’s “Earn-a-Bike” community service project.
All told several thousand community volunteers have worked since 2014 to build stable, affordable Habitat Omaha homes, while breaking down social barriers, and dispelling damaging myths and stereotypes about Omaha’s North Omaha neighborhoods, including Kountze Park. Blessed by the opportunity to work alongside these dedicated neighbors, we know there’s only more good things to come for the Kountze Park neighborhood. Thanks to supporters like you, we’re able to make this incredible week a reality!