The Lesson From La Vista, Not Far From The “Oracle Of Omaha”

Undefined entryways.  Borders attributed to neighbors.  Landlocked with no room to annex.  Shared assets where you don’t get top billing.  It’s enough to make a town say “Woe is me.”  But in La Vista, Nebraska, it’s more like “Whoa! Check this out!”

Some places will chase trends and follow what is done elsewhere.  Not La Vista.  Even while suffering some retail losses over the years and enduring some resident frustration, La Vista held the long view, making plans for the civic and economic health of the community while ensuring that the strong sense of community reigns.  

La Vista never shied away from the big ideas that can bring change but was adamant that nothing jeopardizes the relationships among residents that made folks take a look at the community in the first place.

Community leaders wanted to objectively study their city to discover (and perhaps confirm) the essence of the place and then how to let others in on the secret.  So La Vista did the research.   It revealed the thoughtful, forward-thinking ways the community has tackled issues.  Rather than chasing trends, it has become the guide for even its larger neighbor to the north.  La Vista has led the region with modern guidelines and policies on various issues.  We learned in the research that “La Vista goes for quality.  It’s a standard for them. They make smart decisions.” Residents proudly were “thoughtful to think through things that matter to the town long-term.  We are surgical about how we make investments.”

Perhaps most importantly, research revealed that “La Vista is not pretending to be something it’s not.”  That is great news for researchers since we look for what is real and authentic about a place and how it is meaningful, relevant, and lets a place stand out.  Our favorite story from the research demonstrates La Vista’s perennial commitment to improving the community (even before incorporation).  “Have you heard of Leta Hollis?  Picture her going back and forth over the counter cables in the road so the road would get paved. We’re resourceful like that.  Always have been.”

As growth cascades out of Omaha into the enviable towns of Sarpy County, La Vista is situated for success.  La Vista is the first Sarpy County reward on the main corridor from downtown Omaha.  It is enhancing and leveraging that position by developing a City Centre development with residential, retail, recreation and entertainment: a desirable hybrid of urban excitement and suburban peace of mind where folks can enjoy a neighborly, small-town atmosphere while being in the middle of opportunity and activity on their terms.

La Vista’s new brand is both an invitation and an announcement of opportunity.  People are encouraged to improve their point of view in La Vista.  The city’s compelling promise is rooted in its history and culture but aspirational for the futures of those that call it home.  So while some places seem to get distracted by something quick and shiny, La Vista teaches us that our true specialties are always worthy of an audience’s appreciation.

Click here to see our case study on La Vista.