Revamped South Omaha playground a community collaboration

A South Omaha park got a much-needed makeover.
Published: Jun. 1, 2023 at 10:20 PM CDT
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - On Thursday, the city held a ceremonial ribbon cutting for the recently upgraded Brown Park near 15th and W streets.

It was half-a-million dollars spent on a fresh coat of paint and new gutters for the pavilion. In addition to that, all of the playground’s old equipment has been replaced and there’s now even an adult exercise area.

It was something resident Vanessa Macias pushed for.

“There’s a lot of history behind this area and we figured that this project would’ve been the best for the entire community because it won’t just benefit a few people,” Macias said. “It will benefit hundreds of people.”

It was a collaboration between the city and private groups that brought it to life.

“When the community works together, the city and the private foundations are more likely to donate and help out with it because they see an interest in it,” Macias said.

She said among those the project has received funding from are Omaha Parks and Recreation, the Scott Foundation, and Spark CDI, which said the area needed a little pick-me-up.

“Where can you come and build on social development, provide connections within the community, have a wonderful space for you to host events and celebrate culture?” learning and development director Angel Starks said. “This is what this is all about and this is why we were involved.”

Being not only a mother, but also a teacher at Gomez Heritage Elementary School, Macias agreed.

“If younger people don’t have opportunities to socialize and get out and just play and be kids, they’re going to end up being hermits inside of houses just being on electronics,” she said.

Macias said this is just the first phase of the renovation project, and that future phases will include an amphitheater and a field for football and soccer.