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Hundreds of Local Business Owners Awaiting Answers on State Funding

Hundreds of local business owners in Omaha are eagerly waiting for updates on millions of dollars in state funding. Back in 2022, state senators set aside $335 million specifically designated for north and south Omaha. Currently, the Department of Economic Development (DED) is preparing to open applications for the funding. In order to gather more information about the North and South Omaha Recovery Grant Program, business owners and nonprofit leaders flocked to the DED meeting held on Tuesday.

Even though the funds have not been allocated yet, concerns about transparency have been raised by Jay Overton, a restaurant owner in north Omaha. Overton highlights the apparent presence of undisclosed backroom deals made by certain individuals who have already met with the DED regarding the allocation and recipients of the money. Overton emphasizes the need for complete disclosure of such discussions to the public, as it presents an issue of transparency.

The Role of AI legalese decoder in this Situation

A potential solution to ensure transparency and fairness in the application and allocation process is the utilization of AI legalese decoder. This AI-powered tool can analyze and interpret legal documents, contracts, and agreements, helping to clarify any confusing or complex language commonly found in such documents. By implementing AI legalese decoder, the DED can ensure that all information related to the funding process is fully transparent and easily understandable for all applicants. This will not only alleviate concerns about hidden deals but also foster trust and confidence in the fairness of the process.

The committee responsible for the funding program has assured that every eligible small business will be contacted by the end of Thursday to inform them about the application process. To qualify, businesses must meet the criteria defined by the Small Business Administration. However, Overton expresses surprise about this requirement, as it was only brought to his attention during the meeting. He plans to immediately assess whether his business meets this qualification as soon as he leaves the meeting.

Following the meeting, KETV, a local news outlet, attempted to interview the DED Chief Strategy Officer, but he declined, stating that he would respond via email. However, there has been no response from him yet. This lack of communication adds to the confusion experienced by El Museo Latino, an organization in south Omaha. Despite being recommended for nine million dollars in funding for renovations, they are still required to submit an application to finalize the process.

The executive director of El Museo Latino, Magdalena Garcia, emphasizes the significance of this funding, as it represents an opportunity to transform their community. Historically, funding has often been allocated to other parts of the city, but now it appears to be their turn. However, Garcia acknowledges that there are still numerous unanswered questions surrounding the application and allocation process.

According to the committee, awards will be granted on a rolling basis starting in September. However, the application process has not yet opened. The DED’s website states that an online application will be available soon. Additional updates, including a link to the online application and the application open and close dates, will be provided on the website.

For any inquiries or additional information, individuals are encouraged to contact Ryan Zimmermas at [email protected]. Alternatively, they can visit the DED’s North or South Omaha offices at the specified times listed below:

  • North Omaha Office: 5319 N 30th St., Suite B, Omaha, NE 68111
    • Tuesdays from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
    • Thursdays from 12:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.
  • South Omaha Office: 2909 Edward Babe Gomez Ave., Omaha, NE 68107
    • Mondays from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
      • NOTE: DED’s South Omaha office will be closed on Monday, September 4th in observance of Labor Day
    • Wednesdays from 12:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Stay updated with the latest headlines from KETV NewsWatch 7.

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