Omaha Early Learning Center assists in resurgence of North Omaha Highlander/Pleasantview neighborhood
OMAHA, Neb. — Stonehenge Capital today announced an investment in the Buffett Early Childhood Fund’s Omaha Early Learning Center at Kennedy, a Head Start-funded, early care and education center that will serve children from birth to age five in North Omaha, primarily in the Highlander/Pleasantview neighborhood. The center, adjacent to the Omaha Public School’s historic Howard Kennedy Elementary School, is undergoing construction and is scheduled to serve low-income families in the community beginning in late 2019.
The center is the latest project in a larger redevelopment plan for the struggling Highlander/Pleasantview neighborhood, the historical center of African-American culture in Omaha. It is collaborating with 75 North,which recently developed a nearby Purpose Built Community focused on high-quality, mixed-income housing, cradle-to-college education and community wellness. The center will offer early care and education opportunities and services to working families in the neighborhood and within the vicinity of the Kennedy Elementary School, giving preference to low-income families.
“We look forward to the construction and opening of an additional Omaha Early Learning Center,” said Eric Buchanan, Director of Strategic Partnerships for the Buffett Early Childhood Fund.“Stonehenge’s invaluable investment will allow the center to serve hundreds of children from low-income families in a historically distressed neighborhood. We expect the center to play a critical role in the revival of the Highlander neighborhood, helping children and their families access critical resources needed for future success.”
The new center will provide 50 full-time jobs with benefits,and the center is hopeful that many applicants will be residents of the Highlander/Pleasantview neighborhood. The construction is also estimated to create nearly 170 temporary jobs in the area.
“Stonehenge is honored to be a part of the resurgence of the Highlander/Pleasantview Neighborhood in Omaha,” said L’Quentus Thomas, Director at Stonehenge Capital. “We strive to invest capital in communities that will have a significant minority impact, which is our core mission at Stonehenge Community Development. The early learning center will have a tremendous impact on children and their families, offering a future and opportunity for success for North Omaha’s residents.”
Stonehenge Capital provided $2 million in federal New Markets Tax Credit allocation and $5 million in Nebraska state New Markets Tax Credit allocation for the construction of the center.
U.S. Bancorp Community Development Corporation is also an investor in the project, providing $5 million in federal and $5 million instate New Market Tax Credit allocation, and is an investor for the federal allocation.
“Projects like the Omaha Early Learning Center are so important to closing the gap on the inequities that exist for those in low-income and minority communities,” said Zack Boyers, chairman and CEO of the U.S Bancorp Community Development Corporation. “We’re proud to be a partner in making this center a reality and hope it will be a game-changer for the Highlander/Pleasantview neighborhood. Access to quality education resources – especially during such a critical development period for children – helps them build a foundation to become lifelong learners and achieve everything they dream possible.”
Through U.S. Bank Community Possible, the company invests in economic development by supporting work, home and play –creating stable jobs, better homes and vibrant communities. The Omaha Early Learning Center will have a lasting effect on future workforce development in the area.