What does Omaha need?

General discussion on all things Omaha.

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What does Omaha need?

Postby Coyote » Sat Sep 03, 2016 10:05 am

This morning's Grow Omaha ended with a question: What does Omaha need to get to the next level.

They made a few frivolous suggestions, Omaha being the setting for a Crime Scene program series, have someone with money buy a professional sports team like OKC... but the also suggested an Amusement Park, and Streetcar system to connect downtown with Dundee, Aksarben and the Zoo.

So to continue their short conversation, what do you think Omaha needs to get to 'the next level' however you define that?
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Re: What does Omaha need?

Postby bigredmed » Sat Sep 03, 2016 11:23 am

Coyote wrote:This morning's Grow Omaha ended with a question: What does Omaha need to get to the next level.

They made a few frivolous suggestions, Omaha being the setting for a Crime Scene program series, have someone with money buy a professional sports team like OKC... but the also suggested an Amusement Park, and Streetcar system to connect downtown with Dundee, Aksarben and the Zoo.

So to continue their short conversation, what do you think Omaha needs to get to 'the next level' however you define that?


An organized transit plan for the whole city that may involve multiple modes, but actually be useful to all of us.

A return to neighborhood swimming pools that are open when families can use them and other recreation items.

Along that line, a national level athletic site such as a gun range with a 1000 meter range and other facilities to bring in shooting competitions and maybe recruit the Olympic training program in the sport. We did great with horses and swimming, we should continue to hunt for more. Shooting sports are getting squeezed in Colorado, let's give it a go. Olympic team handball would be another target for our expansion.

Some serious developmental research in education to raise reading and math performance in all schools. It's important to remember that boosting inner city scores is great, but is always read as "the others" by suburban moms. Raising SAT scores all around means one less block in Omaha's image of "boring place in the middle of nowhere" gets removed.

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Re: What does Omaha need?

Postby MadMartin8 » Sat Sep 03, 2016 1:38 pm

A 40 story Target-Hyvee downtown with a light rail system inside of it.
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Re: What does Omaha need?

Postby Coyote » Sat Sep 03, 2016 1:46 pm

Omaha produced Conor Oberst and Alexander Payne.

If the 'Omaha Sound' were to get to the next level, developing more artist, giving them access to studios to record or just experiment...
If there were more opportunities for people in the film industry to experiment also, to hone their craft.

I know there are places in Omaha that already fulfill these ideals, maybe I don't see all of them...
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Re: What does Omaha need?

Postby TitosBuritoBarn » Sat Sep 03, 2016 2:26 pm

A population interested, educated, and willing to participate in bringing Omaha to the next level. I think the desire to see it become something more is there among most of the populace, but they'll need to participate if it's going to happen and succeed. For example, a light rail system will not succeed unless people ride it. This requires people living and/or working close to it and for developers to develop homes/businesses that support ridership (transit oriented development).

Finding a niche in something unique seems to help accelerate bringing cities to a new level. For example, Portland has excellent multi-modal transit and urban form, Austin has a vast music scene, as does Nashville, Denver (and its surroundings) encourage an active lifestyle, etc. We shouldn't just look at what other cool cities have and copy it, we should try and blaze our own trail in something.
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Re: What does Omaha need?

Postby RNcyanide » Sat Sep 03, 2016 5:19 pm

TitosBuritoBarn wrote:We shouldn't just look at what other cool cities have and copy it, we should try and blaze our own trail in something.


Competitive destruction of historic buildings?
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Re: What does Omaha need?

Postby NEDodger » Sat Sep 03, 2016 8:09 pm

Very interesting topic. My two cents:

1.) Agree on a better-designed mass transit system. I don't think light rail/streetcars are the answer for Omaha. However, BRT on designated "major streets" like Dodge and 72nd, plus normal bus lines that actually make sense - I'm thinking similar to Vegas, where they literally just run down every north-south or east-west major streets like a giant grid. If people are able to utilize the bus system without needing to study maps on what line to use, you'll see a huge increase in ridership.

2.) Redevelopment of the riverfront/ConAgra site, with a cornerstone "civic site" like a science museum. The Joslyn and The Durham are fantastic, but if we add a third acclaimed museum in downtown I think you start getting a "prestige factor" with these scholarly attractions.

3.) A third 30+ story tower downtown. If you want to be considered in the "next tier" of cities, I believe you have to *look* like you're a big city and have multiple skyscrapers.

4.) Like #3, more on the frivolous/shallow side but something nationally known like a House of Blues. I'm not a fan of chains, at ALL, but to have a known brand downtown means that Omaha is viewed from the outside as a viable market.

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Re: What does Omaha need?

Postby nativeomahan » Sat Sep 03, 2016 8:56 pm

This is an interesting question. It has no simple answer.
How did other cities get to their present level?

Denver grew itself, fueled in large part by the energy boom in the 1980s that propelled its population upward at a rapid pace, and built on its long time reputation as being a city populate by young, intellectual, open minded "live and let live" environmentally concerned citizenry. The locals ponied up for new sports stadiums, a game changer international airport, and revitalized their rail transit station, part of a rebuilt, bustling downtown, with free and frequent public transport. Their downtown core became fun to spend time in.

Dallas also grew by leaps and bounds since the 1980s, fueled by oil money. Their giant international airport focused attention on the metroplex region. The city mothers and fathers worked hard to shake off the tattered reputation earned with the JFK assassination. The city glimmers, and has a lively mix of funky, walkable gay friendly and yuppie neighborhoods.

Atlanta has boomed thanks in part to becoming a center of technology and media operations, such as CNN and the Weather Channel. Their airport has become the world's busiest (and I have found, the easiest to maneuver through). They have wonderful inner city neighborhoods that attract the young and rich by the hundreds of thousands. You can almost hear the city breathe.

Washington, D.C.. Has gone from a sleepy southern town in the 1960s (JFK described Washington as most noteworthy for its "Northern charm and Southern efficiency") to one of the fastest growing and most exciting cities outside of Asia. Young, affluent, intellectual sorts have turned what was a crime infested, nearly broke urban core into a fashionable Mecca for the nation's current and future movers and shakers. A new baseball stadium located blocks from Capitol Hill, which led to total redevelopment of a sleezy part of town, is an example of investment the city's residents agreed to fund, and it has paid big dividends.

Miami has taken off, and become what many now call the "Capitol of Latin America" due in large part to geography and world economic circumstances. Rich Latin Americans have relocated to the city by the tens of thousands, and the immigration has led to incredible real estate investment in a town that really wasn't very nice 30 years ago. Maybe the TV show Miami Vice didn't hurt, either. The tourism industry is also working overtime to market South Florida.

These are some examples of cities that a generation or two ago were languishing as national "also-rans" that now are among the most vibrant places to live on the continent.
Omaha will never enter the "big leagues", because we simply don't have the critical mass of population needed for that, and we are barely growing now at the national average. But as someone who has lived here for going on 6 decades, I have seen this city move forward - sometimes two steps forward, one back, but still forward. We have an amazing philanthropic community, that has backed impressive civic facilities such as Lauritzen Gardens, the Holland Center, and the Henry Doorly Zoo & Aquarium.

Infrastructure investment such as the Qwest/Century Link Center, TD Ameritrade Park, Midtown Crossing, Aksarben Village, the Baxter Arena, and the excitement of continued growth in Benson, Dundee, Blackstone, Little Italy and other midtown neighborhoods is what is needed to allow Omaha to compete with much larger urban centers in attracting tomorrow's leaders. Civic improvements contribute directly to Omaha becoming a much more "fun" city in which to live in the past two decades, with dozens of free outdoor concerts, festivals and events open to all (20 years ago there were no annual Omaha film festivals, Restaurant Weeks, outdoor concert series, or Taste of Omaha type events adding to the value of the lives of our citizens). Our expanding parks and trails system is also an attraction in itself, adding to both the physical and mental health of our citizenry.

It is a bit of a chicken and egg argument, but regardless of what preceded what, there has been a dramatic increase in ethnic and cultural diversity in Omaha in recent decades, resulting in an explosion in ethnic restaurants, groceries, shops and multi-cultural activities. This multicultural diversity is absolutely crucial to the success of any city. As a member of the LGBT community I take pride in knowing that my community now offers several annual picnics, plus multiple LGBT focused athletic leagues, exercise groups, the acclaimed River City Mixed Chorus, as well as a visible Pride festival. It is important for each of the many communities that make up the greater metro to feel welcome here, and increasingly I see this happening.

Much has already occurred to make Omaha a "city" as opposed to the big small town it was in 1980. But the rest of America has changed in similar ways, and the competition to stand out, or even just to keep up, will always be fierce. Omaha must continue to think outside the box, and engage in smart, cohesive urban planning. We must strive to prevent the "brain drain" that has plagued Nebraska for a century. Luring professions that add to our standard of living is crucial. Think Google, not Walmart! All of the pieces of the puzzle that make up our metropolitan area must fit together.

I really wish we could build an attractive train station, and somehow jumpstart Eppley from an "airfield" to a more powerful player in domestic travel. A large amusement park...even a large water park...would also be a big plus. And frankly, having a more "vertical" urban core would at least allow the city to look more like a metropolis.

Oh, and it would be nice to have a central, organized spot for our food trucks to locate during the lunch hour, and in the evenings. Other cities have made this happen. We certainly have the critical mass of trucks needed to support this concept.

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Re: What does Omaha need?

Postby iamjacobm » Sun Sep 04, 2016 2:12 pm

At its most basic, jobs and job diversity. High paying opportunities, opportunities in growing sectors that are attractive to the current college grads, blue collar work for opportunities for people.

Some specific big ticket things:

Substantial mass transit investment
Lake between Omaha/Lincoln
Pro Sports
Education growth

What I think we really need is an identity. Something that nationwide when people here "Omaha" they think ohh their beer scene, or great startup city, or awesome music scene, or great employment opportunities, or great restaurants ect. I think we are trying to do that, but kind of get stuck in the middle of the mess of cities that can and do tout the same things.

I agree with those posters that want to find new unique things to produce or offer. That is hard to do, obviously, but at least creating the opportunity for new bold creative ideas is a great start.

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Re: What does Omaha need?

Postby Omaha Cowboy » Sun Sep 04, 2016 4:00 pm

Much has been stated and much I agree with..

One thing, as we know, perception is reality for most and it's a bit funny to me that a city, that's been around since 1854, is still searching for an "identity".. Omaha is known for a great many things which in a positive way, should shape it's identity.. But for some reason, Omaha and Omahans don't tout or even embrace them.. We've come a LONG way since the inferiority complex days of the 70's into the 90's.. But Omaha still has an "aw shucks" attitude toward what it's known for and should embrace. For example- Omaha was the place the authentic Rueben sandwich was created.. But if you ask most in the US, they'd say the Rueben was created in NYC.. Aw shucks.. Omaha was the birthplace of the frozen food dinner. If you ask most in the US where it was invented, you'll likely get a blank stare.. Aw shucks.. Omaha was named the Western Terminal location for Union Pacific Railroad connecting the east to the west by President Abraham Lincoln. Unless people paid attention to US history while in grade school, you'd likely get another blank stare.. Aw shucks.. Omaha is one of the most Ethnically and racially diverse cities of its size in the US.. We even have multiple Italian enclaves including a traditional Little Italy (etc etc). But if you ask most, Omaha is a 99% white Anglo city.. Aw shucks.. Omaha ranks as one of the top 60 busiest airports for passenger travel in the US.. Ahead of Memphis, Louisville, Oklahoma City, Tulsa and Tuscon, AZ (among others).. Ask the average US citizen, and they think Omaha still operates a crop dusting dirt strip as an airport.. Aw shucks..

You get my drift. One of the biggest things Omaha still NEEDS to do, is boast of itself. An image already exists. We just have to embrace it.. Then make some NOISE about it..

Another thing that grates at me, is the way Nielsen shortchanges Omaha in the TV Market rankings. Omaha is the 42 largest city, 59th largest metro and 58 largest CSA in the US.. But only ranks as the 74th largest television media market. Des Moines, Wichita, Knoxville and even Green Bay Wisconsin.. All significantly smaller metro areas in population than Omaha.. all rank ahead.. How in the world is this?? Because Nielsen, in its infinant wisdom, counts the entire slab of central Iowa north to south including Ames, as part of DSM's TV market.. Wichita's TV market literally spans 3/4's of the state of Kansas.. Green Bay? Don't make me laugh.. But Omaha's TV market is limited to counties along the Missouri River in Eastern Nebraska, a handful on the western side in Iowa and one in Missouri.. Lincoln is designated as its own TV market and it's a mere 50 or less miles away. If Omaha and Lincoln's TV markets were more accurately and correctly COMBINED like they should be, Omaha would rank as TV market 45.. Aw shucks..

Pro sports would be fantastic.. But as I've stated numerous times on this forum, unless the wealthy movers and shakers in Omaha commit to such a prospect, the thought of big league sports for Omaha is a pipe dream..

Omaha, I believe, is on the right path.. The CWS is big, that Omaha has carved a national reputation as an "event city" is big time.. Omaha needs to continue to tout itself as a city of convenience.. Airport access, a fantastic arena/convention center.. With Nearly 1000 full service hotel rooms right next to and connected to it.. Multiple downtown entertainment options- the traditional Old Market, North Downtown, the new emerging Capitol District.. Right off downtown we have the booming Blackstone entertainment district, Dundee, Benson etc.. We have excellent craft brewing and craft beer options..a fairly well publicized music scene.. Etc etc etc..

The biggest thing Omaha needs, is to have its citizens spread the word.. Aw shucks be da**med! :thumb: ...

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Re: What does Omaha need?

Postby bigredmed » Sun Sep 04, 2016 8:18 pm

Omaha does have an inferiority complex, and lingering effects of the 70's, but more so, the divisions in the social castes of the city. Maha just happened, but if you looked at people over the age of 32, it might as well have not existed. When you look at the proposals for mass transit, the formal proposals were as if Omaha began on 42nd and ended on 60th and didn't exist outside of Center to Dodge. Zillion dollar street car proposals that have no practicality make two bad things happen, first the people blessed with this get angry when it gets opposed and finally dropped, and the people outside of the area feel more and more unattached to the city.

Pro sports are a bust for every city. Omaha won't be different. Buffett and his team of seriously rich people bought the Royals (Storm chasers) before they folded (in a fire sale) and were lucky to break even most years till they sold out. We would be taxing ourselves to finance some plutocrat and end up like St Louis.

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Re: What does Omaha need?

Postby Professor Woland » Sun Sep 04, 2016 10:18 pm

At the state level we need a smart plan to reduce state taxes and spending, it can't be haphazard like in Kansas, but the future belongs to tax havens, we need to be one. It is also crucial that the state and city not "live down" to stereotypes. It is crucial that the death penalty repeal stand. Florida, Texas and Arizona can afford to look like ignorant troglodytes, Nebraska can't. There are serious problems in California right now that have no hope of being addressed, businesses will leave in droves in upcoming years, we need to land some of them, we do that by offering an environment conducive to running a business. Lifestyle freedom needs to be embraced as well, we need to legalize marijuana, make it legal to sell alcohol 24/7 and forbid communities from passing laws banning adult themed businesses.

Locally, we need some startups to make it to the next level. It's a hot-button issue and there are some seriously misinformed opinions on the matter, but education reform is an absolute must. Attempts to make development more difficult need to be thwarted. The city and the philanthropic class should look at the Performing Arts/HDR disaster and determine what sorts of preservationist obstacles are going to get in the way of future development. A plan needs to be in place to relocate old buildings on prime development land so that the buildings aren't destroyed and the land is clear for something better. A Shake Shack or a local equivalent needs to appear and quick, preferably within walking distance of my house. We should talk some of the money bags in town into approaching Putin about buying some of the artwork in the Hermitage and Pushkin museums, he would happily give up a Vermeer if you gave him more money, corruption has its perks. Bigredmed is on to something with the idea of leveraging our success with Olympic sport success, even if other sports don't draw the same national attention, they do draw the attention of those who participate in them, getting them to visit is always a good thing. Similarly, commissioning new operas and symphonies by internationally renowned composers to debut here would be a good way to draw the attention of the types of people who can really help a city. A Six Flags or something similar between here and Lincoln would be great.

The people of the city could certainly help by rediscovering their bourgeois aesthetic values. No more chubby guys with ill advised goatees wearing athletic or cargo or, Ganesh forbid, jean shorts with a ball cap and Oakley sunglasses out in public. We need to be a city that values refinement and good taste. If a word ends in "ing", for the love all things good and decent, pronounce the "g". Conjugate your verbs correctly. Dress up; what is often referred to as "comfortable" is more properly called slovenly. It is possible to do these things without being rude or snobby, in fact they are the fulfillment of good manners.

Less realistically, the skyline isn't really that big a deal, but, like most people I would like to see five or six 600 - 1000 ft tall buildings constructed downtown. If we're going to embrace trains as transport, I would rather fork over the enormous sum necessary to build an immensely wasteful subway than the lesser sum to build a streetcar. Transit money should be spent on actually improving transit, not building a toy for developers and the ironic mustache and bow tie set. If someone here could build a weather machine so that the weather is always nice and a tera-forming machine to build a string of east-west mountains on the latitude between Norfolk and Columbus with a large alpine lake like Lake Tahoe, that would be great too.

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Re: What does Omaha need?

Postby jessep28 » Mon Sep 05, 2016 11:10 am

bigredmed wrote:Omaha does have an inferiority complex, and lingering effects of the 70's, but more so, the divisions in the social castes of the city. Maha just happened, but if you looked at people over the age of 32, it might as well have not existed. When you look at the proposals for mass transit, the formal proposals were as if Omaha began on 42nd and ended on 60th and didn't exist outside of Center to Dodge. Zillion dollar street car proposals that have no practicality make two bad things happen, first the people blessed with this get angry when it gets opposed and finally dropped, and the people outside of the area feel more and more unattached to the city.

Pro sports are a bust for every city. Omaha won't be different. Buffett and his team of seriously rich people bought the Royals (Storm chasers) before they folded (in a fire sale) and were lucky to break even most years till they sold out. We would be taxing ourselves to finance some plutocrat and end up like St Louis.


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Re: What does Omaha need?

Postby Busguy2010 » Mon Sep 05, 2016 6:51 pm

Professor Woland wrote:we need to legalize marijuana


Now that you mention it, this alone would be enough to get many people from surrounding competing cities to move here. It would also increase tourism, stealing a good chunk from Colorado.

I think some sort of political boundary between western and eastern Nebraska would ultimately be the game changer that would allow Omaha to take it to the next level.

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Re: What does Omaha need?

Postby jlincoln » Mon Sep 05, 2016 8:26 pm

Omaha needs to stop following and reinventing what other cities design. Grow Omaha by new fresh ideas. Sadle Creek records, Godfathers Pizza, the Old Market, The College World Series, UNO are great. Omaha was named after the native ameican tribe meaning "Against the current," so do it. Selling an already tested design or another market rate apartment conversion is not inventive. Create! I'm sure this post will disapear because its real.

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Re: What does Omaha need?

Postby bigredmed » Mon Sep 05, 2016 8:38 pm

Busguy2010 wrote:
Professor Woland wrote:we need to legalize marijuana


Now that you mention it, this alone would be enough to get many people from surrounding competing cities to move here. It would also increase tourism, stealing a good chunk from Colorado.

I think some sort of political boundary between western and eastern Nebraska would ultimately be the game changer that would allow Omaha to take it to the next level.


Now that Colorado's marijuana tax is working and western Nebraska is chronically struggling to pay for schools, maybe not.

Frankly I think pot is stupid, but then so are powerball tickets. Legalize it. Create a tax that is slightly lower than Colorado's and pass the savings to the customers.

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Re: What does Omaha need?

Postby RNcyanide » Mon Sep 05, 2016 9:36 pm

bigredmed wrote:
Busguy2010 wrote:
Professor Woland wrote:we need to legalize marijuana


Now that you mention it, this alone would be enough to get many people from surrounding competing cities to move here. It would also increase tourism, stealing a good chunk from Colorado.

I think some sort of political boundary between western and eastern Nebraska would ultimately be the game changer that would allow Omaha to take it to the next level.


Now that Colorado's marijuana tax is working and western Nebraska is chronically struggling to pay for schools, maybe not.

Frankly I think pot is stupid, but then so are powerball tickets. Legalize it. Create a tax that is slightly lower than Colorado's and pass the savings to the customers.


But what about the children??!
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Re: What does Omaha need?

Postby Professor Woland » Mon Sep 05, 2016 9:48 pm

RNcyanide wrote:
bigredmed wrote:
Busguy2010 wrote:
Professor Woland wrote:we need to legalize marijuana


Now that you mention it, this alone would be enough to get many people from surrounding competing cities to move here. It would also increase tourism, stealing a good chunk from Colorado.

I think some sort of political boundary between western and eastern Nebraska would ultimately be the game changer that would allow Omaha to take it to the next level.


Now that Colorado's marijuana tax is working and western Nebraska is chronically struggling to pay for schools, maybe not.

Frankly I think pot is stupid, but then so are powerball tickets. Legalize it. Create a tax that is slightly lower than Colorado's and pass the savings to the customers.


But what about the children??!


Children will love all of the lava lamps and black lights.

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Re: What does Omaha need?

Postby ricko » Tue Sep 06, 2016 12:42 am

I agree with most of what's been posted. Omaha has a lot going for it. Most of its peer cities (at least the ones I've been to) are pretty dull places. I'd like to see top tier business and tech schools, especially on the graduate level, attached to one of the universities----this would be a great incubator for the local economy, which would, in turn, attract and keep talent from migrating elsewhere. A science/natural history museum would be nice, a large recreational lake, good paying blue-collar jobs, and transform Elmwood golf course into Omaha's version of Central Park. I like the ease of Eppley--I think it has good bones, but it is sorely in need of a major interior remodel.

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Re: What does Omaha need?

Postby GetUrban » Tue Sep 06, 2016 12:52 pm

I think what Omaha needs most is a continued increase in expectations of its residents for a higher-quality built environment. MTC is a good example of this, along with the incremental development happening in the Blackstone district, now spreading back toward downtown. AK Village is another good example. There's nothing wrong with looking at other city's successes for more examples. People need to expect more innovation and excitement from their hired architects, planners, companies they work for, and elected/appointed officials.

We're not realistically going to change the climate, geography, or geology of the area, but we all can have an impact on the built environment, if only by adjusting our expectations for something better.

I should add that we need to be careful not to wipe-out the good things we already have, but continually re-purpose them into something useful for the future, or if we must, replace them with something equal or more substantial.
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Re: What does Omaha need?

Postby Taco » Tue Sep 06, 2016 6:54 pm

GetUrban wrote:I think what Omaha needs most is a continued increase in expectations of its residents for a higher-quality built environment. MTC is a good example of this, along with the incremental development happening in the Blackstone district, now spreading back toward downtown. AK Village is another good example. There's nothing wrong with looking at other city's successes for more examples. People need to expect more innovation and excitement from their hired architects, planners, companies they work for, and elected/appointed officials.

We're not realistically going to change the climate, geography, or geology of the area, but we all can have an impact on the built environment, if only by adjusting our expectations for something better.

I should add that we need to be careful not to wipe-out the good things we already have, but continually re-purpose them into something useful for the future, or if we must, replace them with something equal or more substantial.


Wow, I completely agree! You would not know we had such major architecture companies in this town by looking at the buildings! I have a somewhat similar idea, and I like the way you worded this so much that I am going to incorporate it into my post.

One thing many have pointed out is that Omaha is not going to be a "major-league" city anytime soon, if ever. And who cares about impressing the coasts? They won't care regardless.

Rather than following in the footsteps of Minneapolis, Denver, or Chicago, I would rather Omaha strive for its own identity. My preferred idea is the development of a green belt. This is a concept very popular in Europe that prevents sprawl by surrounding the city with parks. While Omaha has sprawl, it is not yet too large to surround. Aside from increased density due to infill development and amazing recreational activities, this move would benefit farmers and avoid building in the Platte river flood plain, which is just asking for a disaster to hit. There are still many green fields within Omaha city limits, so future development should not suffer.

A more dense city structure and such great recreation options would differentiate Omaha from other Midwestern cities and enhance Omaha's reputation as a regionally "hip" city.

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Re: What does Omaha need?

Postby daveoma » Tue Sep 06, 2016 7:50 pm

jlincoln wrote:Omaha needs to stop following and reinventing what other cities design. Grow Omaha by new fresh ideas. Sadle Creek records, Godfathers Pizza, the Old Market, The College World Series, UNO are great. Omaha was named after the native ameican tribe meaning "Against the current," so do it. Selling an already tested design or another market rate apartment conversion is not inventive. Create! I'm sure this post will disapear because its real.

Love the reference to the first Omahans :thumb:

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Re: What does Omaha need?

Postby daveoma » Wed Sep 07, 2016 4:25 pm

Taco wrote:
GetUrban wrote:I think what Omaha needs most is a continued increase in expectations of its residents for a higher-quality built environment. MTC is a good example of this, along with the incremental development happening in the Blackstone district, now spreading back toward downtown. AK Village is another good example. There's nothing wrong with looking at other city's successes for more examples. People need to expect more innovation and excitement from their hired architects, planners, companies they work for, and elected/appointed officials.

We're not realistically going to change the climate, geography, or geology of the area, but we all can have an impact on the built environment, if only by adjusting our expectations for something better.

I should add that we need to be careful not to wipe-out the good things we already have, but continually re-purpose them into something useful for the future, or if we must, replace them with something equal or more substantial.


Wow, I completely agree! You would not know we had such major architecture companies in this town by looking at the buildings! I have a somewhat similar idea, and I like the way you worded this so much that I am going to incorporate it into my post.

One thing many have pointed out is that Omaha is not going to be a "major-league" city anytime soon, if ever. And who cares about impressing the coasts? They won't care regardless.

Rather than following in the footsteps of Minneapolis, Denver, or Chicago, I would rather Omaha strive for its own identity. My preferred idea is the development of a green belt. This is a concept very popular in Europe that prevents sprawl by surrounding the city with parks. While Omaha has sprawl, it is not yet too large to surround. Aside from increased density due to infill development and amazing recreational activities, this move would benefit farmers and avoid building in the Platte river flood plain, which is just asking for a disaster to hit. There are still many green fields within Omaha city limits, so future development should not suffer.

A more dense city structure and such great recreation options would differentiate Omaha from other Midwestern cities and enhance Omaha's reputation as a regionally "hip" city.


I'm totally on board with the green belt idea Taco. I also agree that too much development near the Platte river would be a disaster when it floods. Also having pristine natural recreation would make up for the fact that there are no mountains or large bodies of water nearby.

Omaha_corn_burner
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Re: What does Omaha need?

Postby Omaha_corn_burner » Wed Sep 07, 2016 4:41 pm

Winter activities

Greg S
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Re: What does Omaha need?

Postby Greg S » Thu Sep 08, 2016 11:14 am

Just some random thoughts.

An Amusement Park (with water park). Something comparable to Adventureland. My kids are 9 and 11 and I've never taken them to Fun Plex, locally we either make the drive to DSM or KC.

A major lake, anywhere close but between Omaha and Lincoln would be idea. Something where you can do actual boating and not where any trees that were there prior to the lake are left standing where the water will be. Should be room for cabins, camping and such. Okoboji comes to mind, along with a bunch down in Missouri.

Light rail. Though I'm not sure of any in cities of Omaha's population or smaller, especially with as spread out as we are. Not sure if this is feasible, though I'd love having it available.

Agree with others on a Natural History Museum (love the fairly new LLoyd Noble one at OU).

More youth facilities. We have improved lately with what is coming in CB and La Vista. Still need more soccer and baseball ones (to be able to host tournaments, preferably with great lighting and field turf). Would also like to add an outdoor ice rink that is hockey compatible. With Baxter and Grove, Omaha could do more hosting of tournaments. If you added an outdoor rink at Moylan could be quite the draw (they have this in KC).

On a personal note, would love a true KC BBQ restaurant. I'd take any but I think the most probable is Jack Stack.

For sports teams I'd love to see if the NBA D league (Ralston?) could make it here and would love to see an AHL team at CLC Omaha.

Greg

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Re: What does Omaha need?

Postby TitosBuritoBarn » Fri Dec 09, 2016 11:42 am

When bringing back to life old abandoned or underutilized buildings, stop tearing down adjacent buildings to have an off street surface lot for tenants/customers (a la the Park Ave apartments, China Taste, the row homes on Dewey Ave, Nottingham Apts at 33rd and Burt). This is what the urban renewal movement encouraged and we saw how that went. Things end up looking not very city-like.
"Video game violence is not a new problem. Who could forget in the wake of SimCity how children everywhere took up urban planning." - Stephen Colbert

youknowsimone
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Re: What does Omaha need?

Postby youknowsimone » Wed Dec 14, 2016 4:42 pm

Creighton needs tennis courts (I'm biased, but hear me out). As a member of the Creighton tennis team, we practice outside at Dewey Park and inside at Hanscom, both of which are in dire need of resurfacing. Essentially, the tennis teams would have to fundraise to get courts built on campus, and it doesn't help that the athletic department hasn't been the most supportive. An indoor tennis facility would actually really benefit the downtown Omaha area because most collegiate facilities also operate as their own clubs, renting court time to non-university tennis players, giving lessons, generating revenue, etc. A lot of people enjoy playing tennis, but with no facilities except Dewey and Hanscom, their options are stretched quite thin. Just an idea. I think it would also promote the sports atmosphere that we have already in this city.

bigredmed
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Re: What does Omaha need?

Postby bigredmed » Wed Dec 14, 2016 5:14 pm

youknowsimone wrote:Creighton needs tennis courts (I'm biased, but hear me out). As a member of the Creighton tennis team, we practice outside at Dewey Park and inside at Hanscom, both of which are in dire need of resurfacing. Essentially, the tennis teams would have to fundraise to get courts built on campus, and it doesn't help that the athletic department hasn't been the most supportive. An indoor tennis facility would actually really benefit the downtown Omaha area because most collegiate facilities also operate as their own clubs, renting court time to non-university tennis players, giving lessons, generating revenue, etc. A lot of people enjoy playing tennis, but with no facilities except Dewey and Hanscom, their options are stretched quite thin. Just an idea. I think it would also promote the sports atmosphere that we have already in this city.


Miracle Hills has indoor tennis. There was Westroads Racquet Club that ran out of money and is gone. I think a second indoor facility would be hard to get going and keep going considering how tennis is doing as a participant sport in town. Lots of outdoor courts that don't get used all summer.

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Dusty
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Re: What does Omaha need?

Postby Dusty » Wed Apr 19, 2017 11:19 am

What comes to mind for me is a better vision of where Omaha wants to go and more entertainment options. I will break down some ideas.

1. Better vision when it comes to transit and economic development. Omaha tends to have a mindset of any business developed is good for the city. For example, CVS is better than letting this land sit empty. Hurry up and build it! This makes it expensive to develop later because of cost of demo of existing buildings for a grander vision.

2. Better transit options that run off the grid of the city
3.Science Museum, Public Aquarium, or some big tourist destination
4. More entertainment options in general: Seems like every new development is: restaurants, restaurants, bar, and some retail.
5. More recreational activities beyond hunting and fishing. This means a giant lake or artificial rapids like in NC.
6. Continue to push start-up culture and entrepreneurship.

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Re: What does Omaha need?

Postby buildomaha » Wed Apr 19, 2017 1:55 pm

Dusty wrote:What comes to mind for me is a better vision of where Omaha wants to go and more entertainment options. I will break down some ideas.

1. Better vision when it comes to transit and economic development. Omaha tends to have a mindset of any business developed is good for the city. For example, CVS is better than letting this land sit empty. Hurry up and build it! This makes it expensive to develop later because of cost of demo of existing buildings for a grander vision.

2. Better transit options that run off the grid of the city
3.Science Museum, Public Aquarium, or some big tourist destination
4. More entertainment options in general: Seems like every new development is: restaurants, restaurants, bar, and some retail.
5. More recreational activities beyond hunting and fishing. This means a giant lake or artificial rapids like in NC.
6. Continue to push start-up culture and entrepreneurship.

I think your #1 is the biggest problem with development in Omaha.

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Silverspoon
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Re: What does Omaha need?

Postby Silverspoon » Wed Apr 19, 2017 5:52 pm

Pro sports team.

buildomaha
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Re: What does Omaha need?

Postby buildomaha » Thu Apr 20, 2017 8:52 am

Silverspoon wrote:Pro sports team.

Basketball or soccer, we can't support and football or baseball team especially with Kansas City a few hours away.

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Re: What does Omaha need?

Postby Omaha_corn_burner » Thu Apr 20, 2017 9:29 am

Dusty wrote:3. Science Museum, Public Aquarium, or some big tourist destination
4. More entertainment options in general: Seems like every new development is: restaurants, restaurants, bar, and some retail.

I agree with these.
Omaha needs more free* public entertainment. Midtown Crossing has a good idea with the activities on the green (or whatever they call it).

I like bars and restaurants, but it does get tiring after awhile. I like how we have been gaining new concepts though. Top Golf will be nice. Maybe more of the fancy bowling, but somehow lower the prices. Something instead of just sitting there and drinking beer.



*free, as in our taxes pay for it, but there's no admission fee.

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Re: What does Omaha need?

Postby mrsticka » Sun Apr 23, 2017 6:17 am

Albertsons.

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RockHarbor
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Re: What does Omaha need?

Postby RockHarbor » Sat Jul 22, 2017 11:58 pm

I don't know if Omaha really needs anything, but to just be itself and continue to naturally evolve w/ time as the years unfold -- as it has from the start. To sit around and wish it were 100% a "Kansas City" or 100% a "Minneapolis" is just a waste of time, imo. My focus is not really on entertainment or the social scene, it seems like it is more on urban design, city beauty & aesthetics, and transportation systems mainly.

Here's what I wish we had, not that we necessarily need:

1) A few more taller buildings downtown w/ sharp & innovative design, a look that is "right on the money" for the city (like the FNC is). I wish Omaha were a more "handsome city" like Minneapolis is, that it had more heart & soul & urban delight like Kansas City has. As much as I like the Woodmen Tower and what it means to Omaha, sometimes living in a city w/ a significant b&w striped "zebra" box downtown w/ big, simple basic letters at the top gets old & wearing to me. It's all very "bold print" & very graphic in its own way. (Ugh...please take those letters down, and replace with your cool logo & font, Woodmen. Please?)

2) I wish Omaha would stop building those little "mini burger" office buildings in the suburbs. I realize we're not a huge city that demands huge amounts of office space, but I would rather we build a normal size office building to house two or three companies rather than these itty bitty 2-3 story office buildings. The main example I can think of is the row of mini office buildings along West Dodge Road from 156th Street on west (south side). Each building has sharp design incorporated, but they each are just so "mini little box" they look kinda silly to me all lined up. (What is this? "Little Office Building On The Prairie?") You don't see that in the bigger metros. It's almost embarrassing to me. (However, the FN Business Park buildings look good to me, as well as One Pacific Place, BCBS, Omaha Tower, and the Ameritrade is very big.)

3) I dislike how Omaha strings subdivisions for miles along 2-lane roads w/ big grassy ditches, then widens the road (a mile at a time) years later. Drives me nuts. It just never feels that "urban" to have these big grassy ditches and neighborhood signs set ways back from the street. When it is finally widened, it always looks so nice, and I love driving it -- like West Q and West Blondo. Until then, it looks & feels dumb to me. (Does Phoenix do that? No. Denver? No. Dallas. No. It's because it's an existing farm grid, of course -- which those other cities don't have.)

4) Better freeway system. North Freeway connected to I-680. Light rail would be neat -- but I don't think we quite need that (yet).

5) A beautiful downtown library would be nice

6) Maybe more water fountains & water pools incorporated here & there, or something.

7) More of an aire of urban sophistication (like cities like Minneapolis & Boston & Seattle have) than is currently present here. I'm not sure the name "Omaha" will ever make that fully possible, but I still like the name "Omaha", especially w/ the excitement that surrounds business that have put us on the map and on the nation's radar, like Mutual of Omaha & Omaha Steaks. If Omaha were a person, I think of a strong Native American chief on the plains. I think Omaha is best having an aire of a blooming, emerging, mostly white collar River City, a city of sports, family, nationally recognized business, the arts/music/bands, a spectacular zoo, Midwestern values -- like it has. But, just developing that all even more, becoming a very alluring, attractive city to move to or stay put in. We're not New York or Seattle, but we don't have to be. We don't have a harbor or bay, for one, like those cities do -- just a river.

(Omaha has come a long ways. Many things are happening here. It's way better than when I was a kid. So, thankful for all the new stuff so far.)
Last edited by RockHarbor on Sun Jul 23, 2017 1:17 am, edited 3 times in total.
"Crossroads Village" down the street from "Aksarben Village?" Does "Crossroads" have any meaning to people 20 and under? "Dodge At 72nd" is a type name I like better, drawing from the excitement of the iconic, special Omaha intersection. My $.02.

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Re: What does Omaha need?

Postby bigredmed1 » Sun Jul 23, 2017 5:48 pm

Omaha needs to be organic. Be what we need, not what LA thinks is cool.

Agree with the road issue, we need to charge developers to connect their developments to the nearest major crossroads.

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Re: What does Omaha need?

Postby daveoma » Mon Jul 24, 2017 1:52 am

I really like the water fountain idea. I think public art enhances a sense of space and increases attraction to businesses. KC has water fountains, but I admit they're not always apparent. The two that I have seen are at the airport and the nearby the Nelson art museum. I think these also add an air of sophistication to the city. Perhaps we could start a new thread about where to add public art in Omaha, and what type of art it should be? I think a large piece at the intersection of 72nd & Dodge would be lovely. :) Another at the entrance of downtown on Abbott Drive. Perhaps a significant art piece at every quaint little neighborhood business district. Even the screetscape in South O enhances the charm of the area.

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Re: What does Omaha need?

Postby mrsticka » Mon Jul 31, 2017 2:08 am

A bigger airport. Not super big like Minneapolis or O'Hare, but a bigger one than it already has. Somewhere around Cleveland's size.

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Re: What does Omaha need?

Postby Omaha Cowboy » Mon Jul 31, 2017 2:18 am

Omaha does not need a bigger airport mrsticka. Omaha has a top 60 national airport and is experiencing much growth with now 30 non stop destinations. There is a plan in place for future airport expansion.. Therefore, your post that Omaha "needs" a bigger airport is not relevant..

Expansion will happen in time. Read the Eppley Airport thread in the transportation forum for additional feedback...

Ciao..LiO...Peace
Go Cowboys!

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Re: What does Omaha need?

Postby nebraska » Mon Jul 31, 2017 9:13 am

Okay, but what Omaha does need is better mass transit to the airport. Here's the current city bus: http://www.ometro.com/index.php/route/route-16/

You'll notice it only runs on weekdays, 3 hours each in the morning and evening. That's pretty fraking pathetic. I flew back from the east coast last year on a Saturday and landed at 1pm. No buses, not even posted hours at the bus stop which is located alllllll the way north on the middle island.

I understand there is not a huge demand for mass transit, but the city really has to bite the bullet on some routes. All they have to do is run one shuttle in hour-long loops to connect downtown and/or passengers directly to their hotels. heck, charge $5 for it. But provide something.

Or at a very minimum, make the taxi/Uber stands more prominent and user-friendly.


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