- Associated Press - Monday, July 6, 2015

BELLEVUE, Neb. (AP) - Over the past decade, Bellevue’s riverfront has been converted from an industrial area to a prominent park.

The Omaha World-Herald reports (https://bit.ly/1G2FJeo ) that the Omaha suburb has big plans to continue improving the 73-acre American Heroes Park.

The area used to be occupied by a coal power plant and a sewage processing plant. The power plant was torn down in 2004, and the city began creating the park.

Now there is a 10-acre lake with new fishing pier and two football fields. Later this year, the University of Nebraska at Omaha plans to open a river water research station.

The park also features a 1.5 mile-long nature trail with educational signs about explorers Lewis and Clark and the Missouri River. The trails connect to Fontenelle Forest to the north.

City Councilman John Hansen said the area has the potential to be one of Bellevue’s best assets.

That’s part of why the Bellevue Community Foundation Hansen leads donated $40,000 for an illuminated fountain that shines light on the lake.

The city approved a $2 million plan to make improvements to the park in 2012. A paved trail around the lake is planned for next year.

In the future, the city may add an amphitheater, skate park, playground, splash pad and other amenities.

Public Works Director Jeff Roberts said the updates will happen gradually as money becomes available over the next five years.

Construction on UNO’s Aquatic Toxicology Laboratory will begin this summer, and the lab could be operational by August.

UNO Professor Alan Kolok said the station will test water quality every 15 minutes. Students will analyze the data and publish the information online.

The lab will study agricultural runoff and links between water quality and human health.

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Information from: Omaha World-Herald, https://www.omaha.com


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