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A footbridge connecting Omaha to Council Bluffs? Not so fast, say CB golfers

Council Bluffs Mayor and golfers at odds over potential new development
Posted at 6:46 PM, Apr 18, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-18 19:47:25-04

COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa. (KMTV) — Some day we could see a new way to get from downtown Omaha to Council Bluffs: through a bridge for bikers, pedestrians and other forms of transit. It would be built over the Missouri River.

It's part of the Urban Core, a strategic plan by the Greater Omaha Chamber for the City of Omaha.

The bridge would start at Dodge Park and end somewhere on 10th and Douglas. The catch is it would require redevelopment of the Dodge Park Golf Course which is the only course owned by the City of Council Bluffs.

On average the golf course made more than $150,000 over the last two years. But Mayor Matt Walsh says the land has the capacity to house multiple large high-rise buildings.

"We have three other golf courses in Council Bluffs and many, many others in Omaha. My job as the Mayor of Council Bluffs [is] to do what's best for the citizens," Walsh said.

Kip Peterson, who is an avid golfer at Dodge Park, begs to differ.

"To play a couple of the other courses, you have to become members, or you have to pay twice the green fees for the average man — which is not economically sound for a lot of golfers who want to play here. The money is going to be twice, three times [as much] just to play golf," Peterson said.

Walsh insists on looking out for the "greater good." After all, the bridge could contribute to the city's growth. More developments could lead to more property taxes.

"The more property taxes could go to the city which would spread the property tax base out. The current property taxpayers wouldn't have to pay as much," Walsh said.

Peterson holds a different version of what the "greater good" looks like.

"This place is here. It is thriving. Let it continue to thrive," Peterson said.

Council Bluffs would also like to extend a possible streetcar across the river to the Dodge Park development site. At this point, the City of Council Bluffs is studying the feasibility of the bridge. The plan is to hire a consultant by early summer. If the city goes through with the bridge, it could take as long as 10 to 15 years for it to materialize.

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