Omaha Mayor Jean Stothert is removing the word “acting” from the job title of Acting Parks Director Brook Bench. Bench has held the temporary job title since 2011.
In a statement released Tuesday, the mayor praised Bench for leading the parks department during the 2011 flood and recovery and for managing the rebuilding and reopening of NP Dodge Park Marina and the Omaha riverfront.
Some of the major projects Bench will be managing are the redevelopment of the Gene Leahy Mall, rebuilding the campground and softball and baseball complex at NP Dodge Park, and designing and opening a new recreation center at Benson Park.
The statement also included an update on other projects now in progress:
A new soccer complex at Lynch Park near 20th & Martha will be the largest soccer complex in south Omaha when completed.
A handicapped accessible water recreation facility at Lake Cunningham is being completely funded by private donations. Quality Living, Inc. will use the facility to provide care and rehabilitation for those with spinal cord and brain injuries. The facility will also offer kayaking and fishing.
Plans are underway to build restrooms and a concession stand under the Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge.
Bench’s salary will be $100,000 a year. The mayor says that is a reduction in pay from the previous parks director’s salary. Bench began his career in the parks department’s golf division before moving to park maintenance. In 2005, he became Park Maintenance Manager.