Omaha Mayor Jean Stothert calls the downtown riverfront revitalization plan “one of the most significant projects in Omaha's history," She was on hand today as city officials broke ground on the $300 million project at the corner of 14th and Douglas. “It reflects the generosity of donors, the beauty of the riverfront, and our faith in the future. The parks will be a destination for our citizens and visitors. We will attract new talent, new convention business and new events."
City officials says construction is set to begin at the Gene Leahy Mall next Wednesday. There will be traffic lane closures beginning around morning rush hour, according to MECA. Tree removal will also begin and a safety fence will be installed around the entire mall to provide a safe and secure area.
The tree canopy in Gene Leahy Mall will be replaced tree for tree, with trees already standing 15 to 20 feet tall at time of planting. The Public Art Commission is assisting with the relocation of artwork currently displayed at the Mall to new Omaha park locations.
Parking meters on the north and south side of the mall will be removed: on Douglas Street from 10th to 14th streets, and on Farnam from 13th to 14th streets. The mall will be closed during construction, including access to the slides. Sidewalks also will be closed at these locations. Other sidewalks around the mall will be closed as construction continues.
Plans call for demolition and grading to be underway by May. Heartland of America Park and the Lewis & Clark Landing will also eventually close for renovation during this project. Those closings are expected in 2020.
On Thursdays in the spring, food trucks will be asked to relocate from the mall to Dodge Street, between 14th and 15th streets; and will also be able to park on 14th Street between Capitol and Dodge.
The project is scheduled for completion by the end of 2023.