The sounds of chainsaws echoed through downtown Omaha Wednesday morning as crews began cutting down and removing trees from the Gene Leahy Mall
It's the first step in a major overhaul of the park and the beginning of the $300 million downtown-riverfront redevelopment project.
The plan for Leahy Mall is to raise it to street level and add a dog park, playground, sculpture garden and restaurants. The iconic slides that kids have enjoyed for years will remain and there could even be a third slide added.
Stacy Hughes with Terry Hughes Tree Service tells NewsRadio 1110 KFAB it will take 3-4 weeks to remove the more than 300 trees around the mall. "All of the trees will be transported to our facility off of 88th and Maple and we will turn them into mulch."
In addition to chainsaws, Hughes says his crews had to bring snow shovels with them Wednesday morning. "We had to add personnel to get the snow away from the base of the trees so we can get them down to the ground.
Hughes says he has seven full time employees working on the project. "We're proud to be a part of this very large five year project of redoing the mall."
He says the trees have to be removed by April 1 due to migratory bird nesting.