In 1995, Omaha’s Riverfront was an ugly place. It needed to be cleaned up! Our Founder, Senator Bob Kerrey, went to work with the City to make that happen. “The riverfront was drab and dismal.” said then Mayor Hal Daub, “It was embarrassing to come to Omaha with all the industrial junk yards and Asarco.”
The primary property owner, on Omaha’s downtown Riverfront, was ASARCO. One of the nation’s largest lead refineries, evidence was increasing that ASARCO’s byproducts polluted the Missouri River, soil and the air. The company was facing national scrutiny.
Senator Kerrey engaged with Mayor Daub to coordinate the Environmental Protection Agency’s role in addressing options for ASARCO. Eventually, ASARCO agreed to spend millions to cap the soil, preventing further contamination. In 1999, the City accepted ASARCO’s donation of the property and $8 million to develop the park.
This first piece, to a revitalized riverfront, was officially named Lewis & Clark Landing. Initially, it included a restaurant, performance area, green space, marina and public art. New projects are under way which include a new, next generation Science Center and expanded park amenities.
Project Partners: City of Omaha, P-MRNRD, Nebraska Environmental Trust, EPA, Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality, others.
Estimated Financial Support: Back to the River – Federal Funding by Bob Kerrey
Estimated Total Project Cost: $9,000,000
Year: 1998, 1999