Congratulations to the City of Omaha on completion of The RiverFront, a 72-acre revitalization of three connected parks that link downtown to the Missouri River. We are thrilled to announce that Phase one, Gene Leahy Mall, is the recipient of an ASLA National Honor Award for Design.
The original 14.5-acre Gene Leahy Mall was constructed in 1977 in a wave of urban revitalization that brought green space, people, business, and commerce to the city core. As downtown grew, the steep edges of the original sunken park with a meandering lagoon at its center presented challenges of access, safety, and circulation.
In a total rethinking of access and activation, the western half of the site is raised to street level to welcome pedestrians at all points, and the interior is replanned with a series of outdoor rooms that support changing civic needs. Diverse, active programming is paired with places for reflection and connection to nature, underscoring Omaha’s commitment to community vibrancy. The jury comments underscore the meshing of urban scale and intimate park rooms.
“Although a large-scale project, it links appropriately to the surrounding open spaces and community edges while gracefully dividing the land into unique and meaningful places. The grand gestures are well-scaled, highly social, and memorable.” – 2023 ASLA Design Awards Jury