A blank canvas…

A blank canvas…

By Erin Golden February 14, 2013 12:12 pm Comments

Add another neighborhood to the list that includes north downtown and Midtown Crossing.

The area just west of downtown –roughly north to south between Dodge and Harney Streets, and east to west from 20th to 25th Streets — is the next big thing in Omaha urban redevelopment. The Planning Board has already approved a development plan that should be headed soon to the Omaha City Council.

The 73-page report includes a long list of suggestions for bringing more residents into the area, making it more accessible and pedestrian friendly and helping it to serve as a bridge between downtown and Midtown Crossing.

Some of the ideas:

» Build a new north-south street between Dodge and Farnam Streets, easing the path to Joslyn Art Museum and Central High School.

» Open Farnam Street to two-way traffic, similar to the area around Midtown Crossing.

» Expand sidewalks and install new landscaping, light fixtures and special paving materials.

» Build a pedestrian connection between Joslyn and Central, which could include public art.

» Add on to the Rose Theater, including a park and pedestrian areas linking it to the Omaha Children’s Museum and YMCA

All of these efforts still need funding and more specific plans, so don’t expect major changes immediately. But developers working on two projects in the area said they believe it won’t take longer than five years for the neighborhood to take on a new character.