Rules in place for Omaha’s Gene Leahy Mall grand opening

It will be a weekend of free events for the grand opening of the Gene Leahy Mall.
Published: Jun. 30, 2022 at 10:15 PM CDT
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - The curtains have been pulled back. The Gene Leahy Mall is ready for its big moment.

“Beginning at 11:00 a.m. throughout grand opening weekend, we’ll have food trucks on-site,” said Kristyna Engdahl, Director of Communications for the Metropolitan Entertainment and Convention Authority (MECA). “People can come down and bring their coolers and spend their day down at The RiverFront getting ready for those grand opening celebration activities at night.”

To keep the Gene Leahy Mall safe and shiny and new, there are rules just like any park or public space.

For starters, smoking, vaping and alcohol are no-nos, as are fishing and cooking or grilling. Don’t try to sell stuff or hand stuff out without a permit, either.

And for the big events like Friday’s Kristin Chenoweth concert, find a spot early, but not too early.

“The question we get the most is, when can I come down and get my spot secured for those evening events that are happening in the Performance Pavillion?” Engdahl said. “We’re saying 3:00 p.m., you can bring down your blankets, your portable chairs, we just ask no plastic or tarps or stakes on our brand new event lawn.”

Bathrooms will close overnight and camping out isn’t allowed. And considering where the park sits, covering 13th to 8th streets between Douglas and Farnam, it’s a good idea to plan ahead when it comes to parking for big events like you’ll find on the holiday weekend’s schedule.

”Because of course it’s an urban park surrounded by development, we encourage people to get there early,” Engdahl said. “To be able to find parking, get in place, and to give themselves extra time to appreciate all the wonderful new amenities that we have in place.”

Just like most parks in the city, dogs are allowed, as long as they are leashed and curbed. Unless, of course, you turn them loose for some four-legged fun in the new dog park.

”Near 8th and Douglas Street, there we have doggies tunnels, artificial turf, see-saws, even ground-level water fountains that they can use,” Engdahl said.

For those looking to break the rules, we’re told the park will be patrolled by multiple security officers 24/7, with a series of security cameras already up and running throughout Gene Leahy Mall.

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