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Ideas for riverfront development unveiled

Posted at 10:26 PM, Nov 15, 2017
and last updated 2017-11-17 13:13:11-05

Omaha business leaders continue to have their eyes set on a big development plan to revitalize the riverfront area, and boosting businesses and recreation on both sides of the river.

The committee spearheading the plan has been working on the proposal for more than a year. Tonight they showed the public their updated plans, which includes dog parks, event lawns, a marina, an urban farm and even a beach. Reporter Maya Saenz has more.

The plans were quite extensive, starting off with raising Gene Leahy Mall up to street level, and expanding it down near the river.

It's an area that is frequently forgotten and underused. "I've lived in Omaha my entire life and prior to working downtown I had never been to the pedestrian bridge. It's something that a lot of people who live in omaha don't know about and it's such a great spot."

The Missouri Riverfront. Frequent runners along the path, like Tiffany Rocz says more eats around the area would bring in more traffic. "I think a lot of people come down here to bike or run but you don't see a lot of people just hanging out and relaxing at the tables or anything along the river, so maybe like a restaurant scene with a coffee shop."

Tonight efforts to revitalize the Missouri riverfront to make it more useful and inviting on both the Omaha and Council Bluffs sides reached the public at a second public meeting.

The Planning Committee shared a revised plan focusing on different areas near the riverfront. Starting with plans to expand Gene Leahy Mall out towards the river. "Our idea is to bring it up to the street level so people aren't 20 feet below the street level where there can be actual leveled park areas, playgrounds for kids, dog walks and so forth that are very functional." said Riverfront Revitalization Committee co-chairman Ken Stinson.

And making the riverfront on both sides more accessible for drivers and pedestrians by opening places that people can't or don't go to now, like the River Edge's South. "People don't go there now, it's not inviting. So we'll clean that up, put new vegetation up, paths, little fitness centers where you can stretch - that sort of thing."

With hopes of bringing in larger events to town. "It makes those events even more attractive to the people coming in because there are more things for them to do when they're not at the event itself, it's more attractive to the organizations that are thinking about bringing events here."

Right now there are no official plans for the revitalization. But some tonight say its not a matter of if they can build this, but if the two cities can maintain it. There will be a third meeting in January with a new revised plan with todays input from the public.