More development is being planned along the Missouri River on either side of the new pedestrian bridge that joins Omaha and Council Bluffs. At the base of the bridge on the Nebraska side is Bridge Plaza, featuring a playground, “fiber-wave” sculptures, water jets and an amphitheater. Council Bluffs Mayor Tom Hanafan says the Riverfront Park Complex on the Iowa side is completely different from its Omaha companion.
Mayor Hanafan says, “Our full intent was to make the Iowa side more environmentally-sound, easy access to the river.” Council Bluffs is about to embark on an 85-acre development for the area. Hanafan says one big feature will be the six-acre Great Lawn.
He says, “It’ll have some seating embedded in the side so that if you want to have a concert or some activity, if you want to play soccer or baseball or just enjoy yourself along the river.” Hanafan says the Riverfront Park is designed to minimize any damage from flooding.
“By having limited items that can be damaged and a pretty easy clean-up, it’s really kinda’ remembering that it’s going to flood,” he says. “It’s part of the river system.” Riverfront Park is the former site of Playland Park, an amusement park and speedway that was demolished in the early 1970s. The development is described as the largest public project in the metro area in 35 years.
The total cost of the development is 11-million dollars. Construction is expected to start this spring and be completed by 2012. The Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge also connects 150 miles of hiking and biking trails on each side of the river.
By Karla James