Workers putting final touches on Gene Leahy Mall

The centerpiece of downtown Omaha is almost complete.
Published: May. 24, 2022 at 6:09 PM CDT
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - The landscape of downtown Omaha is quickly changing.

In a little over a month from now, a reimagined Gene Leahy Mall will reopen.

The grass is in, the performance pavilion is almost ready to go, and the slides are in place, almost everything is ready for July’s grand opening.

“It looks like a park!”

Right now, it’s all about finishing the final details of Gene Leahy Mall. But, it’s taken a lot just to get to this point.

“Three years. Just on Gene Leahy Mall but it’s really exciting to go from the design process to construction to plans actually to seeing it come to life,” said Katie Bassett, MECA Vice President of Parks.

As that July 1st opening date quickly approaches, business owners say they can’t wait for the foot traffic.

The owners of Phyl’s Deli in the Old Market say big events like the opening weekend free concert means more business for them.

“Absolutely, absolutely yeah. That’s going to draw people down to Omaha from West Omaha, from Council Bluffs, all the tourists that come into Omaha,” said Chaz Kline, Phyl’s Deli owner.

There’s still more to do...

This water feature will soon come to life and some turf still needs to be installed at the dog parks.

Leaders with MECA hope when it’s complete the park becomes the heart of downtown for generations to come.

“I think the goal was to really spearhead a transformation of Omaha’s urban core. There was really great greenspace down here previously but it wasn’t really useable, it was really activatable in a way that was meaningful. This should help change that,” said Kristyna Engdahl, MECA.

MECA has an entire weekend of events planned for the grand opening.

In addition to the free concert, they also plan to have free workout classes.

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