The RiverFront Revitalization

Gene Leahy Mall water reflection

The RiverFront Revitalization

A Revitalized Riverfront Becomes a Local and Regional Destination

The RiverFront Revitalization project in Omaha, Nebraska is designed to revive 72 acres of urban parkland along the Missouri River and includes the transformation of three under-utilized parks into new local and regional destinations: Gene Leahy Mall, Heartland of America, and Lewis and Clark Landing. The RiverFront Revitalization will make the river more accessible to the community while also providing welcoming outdoor spaces and fostering critical connections within the city. The trio of parks will provide improved access and connections within downtown Omaha, foster environmental connection and support economic growth. Metropolitan Entertainment & Convention Authority, known as MECA, of Omaha will own and operate the parks.

In our role as design manager and engineer on the project, we teamed up with OJB Landscape Architecture on Omaha’s RiverFront master plan and ensuing design phases. Advancing the master plan meant taking on design and engineering complexities that come with the city's riverfront location — floodways and floodplains, flood walls and levees, endangered species, permitting challenges, environmental contaminants, buried high voltage transmission lines and utilities lining a navigable channel. Taken together, our permitting work and site/civil engineering are the key to; laying the groundwork for this transformation. Sizeable funds required to take on the project were raised in a partnership between the city of Omaha and support from its donor community. As a way to give back to a loyal community, the city set a goal to integrate measurable elements of sustainable design using the Envision rating system. As a result, in October 2021, the RiverFront Revitalization Project earned the Envision® Platinum rating, the highest level possible from the Institute for Sustainable Infrastructure. It is the first project in Nebraska to receive an Envision distinction.

The Gene Leahy Mall opened in July 2022, while Heartland of America Park and Lewis & Clark Landing opened in August 2023.

Gene Leahy Mall water reflection

Awards

World Changing Ideas Honorable Mention (2024)
Urban Design Category
Fast Company
Merit Award (2024)
Congress for New Urbanism
Finalist, Award of Excellence (2024)
Urban Land Institute Americas
Project of the Year Award (2024)
Structures, Greater Than $75 Million Category
American Public Works Association
Grand Prize (2024)
Environmental Sustainability
American Academy of Environmental Engineers & Scientists
National Recognition Award (2024)
Engineering Excellence Awards
American Council of Engineering Companies
Grand Award (2024)
Engineering Excellence Awards
American Council of Engineering Companies of Nebraska
Award of Excellence (2024)
American Concrete Institute, Nebraska Chapter
Planet Positive Award (2023)
Landscape Category, Planet Positive Awards
Metropolis Magazine