Economic

Businesses feel economic losses from delayed Cinco de Mayo festivities

The Cinco de Mayo festival takes place every year in the heart of South Omaha, La Plaza de la Raza. Nancy Montanez said she has lived in South Omaha for 40 years. She said the landscape has changed quite a bit in the past two decades.”I remember as a teenager walking through here and it was a ghost town, and now you see every single building that’s being occupied,” Montanez said.But, after Cinco de Mayo’s cancellation in 2020 and the delay to summer in 2021, businesses like Amparo Ayala’s beauty Salon, nestled just west of the plaza, felt its effects. She opened her doors only a year before the pandemic. “Little by little it has calmed down, and so we’re very happy about that,” Ayala said. “But yes, we were really affected by the pandemic.”Now, the new ARPA funding approved in the north and south Omaha recovery plan and dollars raised from this year’s Cinco de Mayo festival, South Omaha will pick up where it left off, and start new projects. Montanez said there is a plan to build a green space in La Plaza de la Raza.”The businesses down here are definitely going to benefit because we really want it to look something like Benson or even Aksarben, something like that,” Montanez said. That federal money could also help South Omaha nonprofits, including Generation Diamond, which helps those experiencing homelessness. Founder Blanca Mejia said she plans to apply.”This money will be amazing because we can provide more services for our participants but also we can hire people so that they can help us to make this job easier and better and faster for everybody,” Mejia said.

The Cinco de Mayo festival takes place every year in the heart of South Omaha, La Plaza de la Raza.

Nancy Montanez said she has lived in South Omaha for 40 years. She said the landscape has changed quite a bit in the past two decades.

“I remember as a teenager walking through here and it was a ghost town, and now you see every single building that’s being occupied,” Montanez said.

But, after Cinco de Mayo’s cancellation in 2020 and the delay to summer in 2021, businesses like Amparo Ayala’s beauty Salon, nestled just west of the plaza, felt its effects. She opened her doors only a year before the pandemic.

“Little by little it has calmed down, and so we’re very happy about that,” Ayala said. “But yes, we were really affected by the pandemic.”

Now, the new ARPA funding approved in the north and south Omaha recovery plan and dollars raised from this year’s Cinco de Mayo festival, South Omaha will pick up where it left off, and start new projects. Montanez said there is a plan to build a green space in La Plaza de la Raza.

“The businesses down here are definitely going to benefit because we really want it to look something like Benson or even Aksarben, something like that,” Montanez said.

That federal money could also help South Omaha nonprofits, including Generation Diamond, which helps those experiencing homelessness. Founder Blanca Mejia said she plans to apply.

“This money will be amazing because we can provide more services for our participants but also we can hire people so that they can help us to make this job easier and better and faster for everybody,” Mejia said.

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