Omaha, Neb., is the latest city to announce a major overhaul of its riverfront convention district, following in the footsteps of cities such as Houston and Wilmington, N.C.
Last week, Visit Omaha unveiled the $290 million plan for a completely new development that will connect the convention district, riverfront and downtown Omaha. The 90-acre project will create an “open canvas” for meeting planners to get creative when planning events all-year round, according to Keith Backsen, Visit Omaha’s executive director. “The [project] is a massive undertaking and will include many ‘wow’ features that will make the area even more attractive for meetings, conventions and events 12 months out of the year,” adds Backsen.
One of the most crucial parts of the plan is the significant green space that will feature a performance pavilion, botanical gardens, waterfalls, a sculpture garden, water cove, park-adjacent cafes and promenade that will lead to overlooks jutting out above the river. Other parts of the revitalization project include a boardwalk along the river’s edge leading to Heartland of America Park Lake and continuing to the new riverfront development, which will include an urban beach, children’s park, sports courts, marina and a future Discovery Pavilion for science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) activities—which could interest tech groups and the like.
Construction on the project is scheduled to begin next year, with completion scheduled for meetings taking place as early as 2022.