- Associated Press - Saturday, February 18, 2017

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) - A group associated with the Greater Omaha Chamber of Commerce has hired a director to focus on boosting activities near the Missouri River.

Former Lincoln Railyard employee Rachel Halbmaier began Monday at the Missouri River Commons initiative, the Omaha World-Herald (https://bit.ly/2lczSlP ) reported.

“We’ve got Council Bluffs. We’ve got Omaha,” she said. “And I really want this to be the place that brings these communities together.”

The push to bring more events to the riverfront comes after a 2014 Urban Land Institute study. The group suggested the Omaha-Council Bluffs area come together to bring more people to the riverfront, and even potentially hold a national festival.

Chamber President David Brown said that before a separate group led by Omaha business leaders can redevelop the area, Halbmaier will work to ensure people are using the current riverfront amenities.

“We want to make sure things are happening there before, during and after redevelopment,” Brown said.

He said residents can expect to start seeing results from Halbmaier’s work by next year. Those results may include concerts, movie nights, farmers markets, lunches, games, fundraisers and festivals.

“She’s going to become this new ball of energy that’s going to be coming down the riverfront that we need to have happen,” Brown said.

Committee Chairman Donn Seidholz said the group has a budget of approximately $150,000 to work with. Seidholz said he wants riverfront redevelopment to become “a real legacy to the city going forward.”

“I could never in a million years have envisioned the cooperation and spirit that’s gone into this thing,” he said. “We’re off!”


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

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