H&R Block Supports Gathering Spaces as Place for Authentic Connections to Grow

September 20, 2021 : H&R Block

Nichole Schumacher, a resident of North Omaha, moved into the neighborhood roughly two years ago and noticed a beloved local Omaha landmark, known as the Viking Ship, covered in ivy. The Viking Ship is a community center which over the years has played host to life celebrations like graduation, birthday and anniversary parties, as well as youth sporting activities such as wrestling.

“All I’ve ever known is the overgrowth, and something needed to be done for the community,” says Schumacher.  “This place deserves to shine.”

Seeing a neighborhood stalwart in need of TLC, Schumacher was inspired to take action. When she saw on Nextdoor the chance to improve the building, she nominated it for a Make Every Block Better project. Her idea, to restore the exterior of the Viking Ship, was ultimately one of 10 projects selected in year two of H&R Block and Nextdoor’s partnership to improve, uplift and better connect neighborhoods.

“This building at one time was the first ever building here built before 1915 and is the oldest building to date in this neighborhood,” said Schumacher in her project nomination. “It was the neighborhood place to be…[and] was then turned into a community center for kids and now sadly is only used for a handful of small events.”

To restore the exterior of the building, the team hired small business Will Potter Landscaping to complete ivy renewal and assist with landscaping work. Amanda and Will Potter, spouses and co-owners of Will Potter Landscaping, happen to have celebrated many big moments at the Viking Ship—including their own wedding in 2004. 

Amanda and Will Potter of Will Potter Landscaping

Both Will and Amanda grew up in Omaha, and location of the Viking Ship was close to both their parents. When they were planning their wedding, they ultimately settled on the Viking Ship as the right option for value, location, and space.

“It had kind of that homey feel, it felt like us,” said Will Potter.

With their history, the Potters were excited to be asked to join in and play a role in the revitalization of the Viking Ship. Rather than see the building torn down, they wanted to support work that would take an outdated, worn out, overgrown building and make it better for the next generation of neighbors.

“There are places everywhere in this country that need that help, that little bit more, to get the community back,” said Amanda Potter. “It means a lot for [H&R Block] to bring that community back and revitalize some of the older parts of town where maybe the city isn’t doing as much.”

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