Big Plans Underway Along River In Council Bluffs

The river’s edge along Council Bluffs is going to get busy this summer.

The plans for River’s Edge Park are getting people excited.

At the same time, Harrah’s Casino will be completing a major overhaul.

Since the flood of 2011, River’s Edge Park hasn’t seen much action, especially from the viewpoint of Shawna Swaney, who runs by several times a week.

"Before, we saw the flood, and everything was under water, and dead, and we've just been watching to see as they're building things, and now we're curious what's going to be next," she says.

She’ll be seeing a change very soon.

Monday morning, the City of Council Bluffs held a grand opening for River’s Edge Park, announcing big plans to celebrate.

It’s called “Loessfest.” It’s a two week festival starting late in May.

It’s offering free musical acts like the Beach Boys, fireworks, movie nights, and even a soccer tournament.

There will even be a festival within Loessfest one day, a food truck festival. It will showcase different ethnic foods from around the region.

The city wants to bring people in to see the river’s edge as nature intended.

"It's about walking to the river, and coming back to the river, it's an opportunity for people to really learn about what the river is and how we live in our area," says Council Bluffs Mayor, Thomas Hanafan.

Just downstream, more changes are taking place at Harrah’s.

Harrah’s is retiring its riverboat, bringing the games to a building on dry land.

They hope with the games, food, and hotel in a central location, it will mean more business, and attention to the city.

“This is something that hasn't been done since the Horseshoe was opened, and I think the city and the people that live here will rally around this and have fun," says Bo Guidry, General Manager at Harrah’s.

The price tag for River’s Edge Park is around $11 million.

Another reason Council Bluffs is keeping the park so basic is because it’s planning for simple cleanup if the river floods again.

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