The Omaha side of the Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge has seen a lot of development in recent years, but the lack of development on the Council Bluffs side is why some jokingly refer to it as “the bridge to nowhere.” That will soon be changing.
"It's a nice place to walk the dog, nice view, we've got the river there and downtown Omaha,” says Micah Bret of Council Bluffs, who likes to come to the bridge with his dog Oliver. That stroll now passes a lot of nothing. "I'm not exactly sure what all they're doing with that, I have no idea if they're going to be building something."
The building is in the works. What is basically a big empty field will be transformed into a park along the Iowa riverfront that is scheduled to open in 2012.
"This is a chance for Council Bluffs to really do something spectacular. Larry Foster with Council Bluffs Parks and Recreation points out the changes that will soon take place at the foot of the pedestrian bridge.
"So we'll have this, what we're calling the great lawn, beautiful, big, green palette. It will be used for activities and events and concerts and gatherings and recreation."
Off to the side will be pavilions for events and seating terraced into the levee, all at the foot of the Missouri River. There will also be a beach on the edge of the river, complete with sand.
"We have a plaza, we have seating areas where you can sit and watch the river go by,” says Foster. “We think people will be surprised, we think they'll be delighted and we think once it's open they're going to be entertained and it isn't going to matter what side of the river they come from, it's going to serve everybody in a great fashion."
The cost for phase one is $11 million. Half of that will be funded by Iowa West and the other half will come from the city of Council Bluffs. Foster hopes to start construction in October with an opening date of spring 2012.