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Gene Leahy Mall re-construction 'on budget and on time'

Posted at 10:10 PM, Aug 15, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-15 23:10:06-04

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — MECA says the Gene Leahy Mall re-construction is on time and on budget, in fact, it may even be a bit ahead of schedule.

When you try to look at the Gene Leahy Mall construction downtown, you see blocks of blacked out fencing, with viewing holes giving you a taste of the progress and what they're currently working on.

"I would say the thing that right now has been the most labor intensive would be some of the work that you're seeing right now,” says Kristyna Engdalh, Communications Director for MECA.

That includes filling in where the lagoon used to be, for that, they need a lot of dirt and time.

"And that part of that process is the filling in where the lagoon used to be and that's something that will take 93,000 cubic yards of dirt to bring that up to street level. That's 9,300 dump trucks,” says Engdahl.

So far, they've removed the pedestrian bridges, demolished the mall from 11th to 14th street and brought dirt to street level from 13th to 14th street.

Work is going well enough, they now plan to close down Heartland of America Park in the fall. Something they weren't planning on doing until early next year.

"And that's just because the team is moving along well they think they can tackle that part of the project,” says Engdahl.

And those huge chunks of limestone from the mall aren't just trash, they repurposed those. Putting them at Hummel Park, to replace their amphitheatre seating.

"Previously they have used concrete blocks and two-by-fours for seats for day campers, and hundreds of kids use that camp every year. Now they have like brand new limestone seating that looks much nicer,” says Engdahl.

And for those curious, the slides are going to stay. Officials just figuring out what to put around them, whether it be a climbing wall, stairs or something else.