Omaha, Council Bluffs take steps to activate riverfront

Omaha, Council Bluffs riverfront progress
Posted at 5:53 PM, Feb 13, 2017
and last updated 2017-02-13 18:53:07-05

While development is ongoing in Council Bluffs, Omaha officials hope a new director will help activate the riverfront.

The Greater Omaha Chamber of Commerce announced Monday the new position as director for the Missouri River Commons has been filled. Rachel Halbmaier will head up the public-private initiative.

"I  guess right now in these first few months of me being here, I just really want to ask a lot of questions find out what people in Omaha want to see down there," Halbmaier said. "What's missing in the community? And try to bring that down to the area."

Halbmaier says her job is to find ways to make the Missouri riverfront vibrant.
"I want to do Omaha proud," she said.
Greater Omaha Chamber of Commerce President and CEO David Brown says the riverfront has been untapped for too long
"I liken what we're doing to what was happening when Aksarben village first started," Brown said.  "[The riverfront] is a great spot its got venues available on both sides of the river. its ready for something more to happen and now we hired someone who will wake up every morning worried about that kind of thing."
Across the river in Council Bluffs, the city is past just conceptualizing, says Mayor Matt Walsh.
"We've got the bones of a development, we got the streets and the street lights and the plantings are in," Walsh said.
Currently, construction for a new community space, along with apartments and town homes is underway. The Council Bluffs city council will also vote Monday on approving two new condominium towers.
"Lots going on. It will be a busy construction season this year," Brown said. "We're really excited. Its going to set the tone I think for the riverfront and in the future on both sides of the river."
Halbmaier says she agrees.
"That's really the goal is to see development on both sides of the river - not just on the Omaha side and not just on the Council Bluffs side," she said.