Neighborhood profile: La Vista's 'Nines' is No. 1 with community - Omaha.com
Published Saturday, July 13, 2013 at 1:00 am / Updated at 2:20 pm
Neighborhood profile: La Vista's 'Nines' is No. 1 with community

The World-Herald visits the oldest section of La Vista for its third neighborhood profile. We've previously covered Quail Hollow in the Millard area, as well as South Omaha's Deer Park area.

* * *

Called the House of Nines, the neighborhood was a housing development created by Don Decker to the south and west of Omaha in the late 1950s. The development provided houses for first-time buyers who couldn't afford huge house payments. Many of them were people from Offutt or former Air Force families. The small, one-story, two-bedroom houses didn't have garages or basements, and cost $9,999 each. All that was required was a low down payment and monthly payments of $99.

For that price, the home buyers had to provide some of the finishing touches to their homes, including painting the interiors.

This modest settlement of 335 homes in the midst of a cornfield eventually became La Vista, which was incorporated as a village in 1960.

In 1964, G. Stanley Hall Elementary School was opened on the original plat. The village's 1960 first official census recorded 1,360 people. The 2010 Census found a population of 15,758.

Over the years, garages, additional rooms, patios and decks have been added to the houses. Now residents have more amenities and nearby shopping and services. Some of the houses that had started to show their age were painted and fixed up during a La Vista Community Foundation revitalization program in 2005 and 2006.

While many of the first homeowners have moved on or have died, the quality of a close-knit neighborhood that they created remains today.

Once people move into the neighborhood, they don't want to leave if they don't have to. “I don't think I'll ever move,” said Connie Whitney, who has lived in her House of Nines home since 1997.

Neighborhood

From Harrison Street south to G. Stanley Hall School, and 72nd Street to 69th Street

Who lives here?

The following numbers are for the general area:

» Median age: 36.4
» Racial makeup: 85 percent white, 8 percent Hispanic
» 37 percent of households are families with children
» 84 percent of homes are owner-occupied

Houses

Mostly modest one-story frame houses in white or a variety of pale colors, from yellows and tans to grays and greens.

They originally sold for $9,999 in 1959 and 1960. A check of asking prices on houses currently for sale in the House of Nines area range from $60,000 to $115,000.

Many of the houses look like they're undergoing repairs or being updated. Recently, roofers were replacing the roof on one house while across the street the homeowners were adding a second story to their home.

What residents say


"We may not talk to everyone, but we keep an eye out."

-- Connie Whitney, who has lived in the neighborhood since 1997

"I always let people borrow my tools or try to help them out when I can."

-- Tony Sharp, who has lived in the area for 26 years

"It's a really good place to raise kids."

-- Marie Dixon, mother of three boys and a seven-year resident

"Deer wander into the area. So do turkeys."

-- Bob Loghry, who moved into the area 15 years ago

"La Vista is a good little town."

-- Jim Russell, who has lived in the neighborhood for 25 years but whose wife moved here when the development first opened

"This neighborhood is awesome. The people are the best."

-- Larry Cooley, who moved into the neighborhood a year ago

Streets are in pretty good condition. Residents say they don't worry too much about children or pets being hit by cars because people drive slowly and watchfully, for the most part. The city is good about snow removal and cleaning the streets.

At a glance

Small, neat and well-tended yards. A variety of big trees that provide plenty of shade for the yards — many of them probably date from the beginning of the housing development 50 years ago. Some yards have flower beds and attractive touches such as birdbaths and lawn ornaments. Kids play outside, and several homes have swingsets and other outdoor toys. Yard fences are mainly chain-link, and many have dogs within.

There are lots of dog walkers. Connie Whitney said that's how she has met many of her neighbors over the years — they walk their dogs by her house day after day and eventually get to talking.

It's surprisingly quiet, even a block off 72nd Street. And that is one of the main reasons they moved to the neighborhood, several residents say.

Streets

Streets are in pretty good condition. Residents say they don't worry too much about children or pets being hit by cars because people drive slowly and watchfully, for the most part. The city is good about snow removal and cleaning the streets.

Safety

Sarpy County Sheriff's Office and La Vista Police Department vehicles drive through often. During the housing downturn of the past few years, several of the houses became rentals, and long-time residents say a few of the renters have been inconsiderate (usually too noisy). But other than that, they say there isn't much crime and no major problems.

People

Retired folks and young families share space with couples or singles in their 30s and 40s. The residents like that they know their neighbors, at least the ones who live closest to them. They honk or wave when they are driving down the street and see someone they know.

“Everyone seems so laid back,” said a woman who didn't give her name.

There aren't a lot of planned neighborhood activities. Until recently a couple who had been in their house since it was built in 1960 had lived across the street from Connie Whitney. She said their driveway was a gathering place for neighbors to set up lawn chairs and chat. The husband died and the wife moved into a retirement home, so everyone's wondering who will take up the slack.

Residents also said they like the fact that Sarpy County Board member Brenda Carlisle lives in the neighborhood.

Recreation/Play

Go any direction from the neighborhood and you'll find a place to have fun and exercise. To the north, across Harrison Street, is Seymour Smith Park with its ballfields, disc golf course and Big Papio Trail. To the east sits the La Vista Sports Complex. West across 72nd Street is the children's playground at Vista Children's Memorial Park. Farther south are Mayor's Park and Champion Park.

Nestled within the neighborhood is Eberle Walden Park. It's small, with little playground equipment. It's an oasis memorializing Danny Joe Eberle and Christopher Walden, two boys who were murdered by John Joubert in 1983.

Want The World-Herald to visit your neighborhood? Let us know why we should. Send your information to Carol Bicak at 1314 Douglas St., Suite 700, Omaha, NE 68102 or carol.bicak@owh.com.

Contact the writer: Carol Bicak

carol.bicak@owh.com    |   402-444-1067

Carol writes about community news, local profiles, the arts and books. She also covers the zoo.

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