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Omaha Magazine

Greater Omaha Chamber: Big Moves

May 27, 2022 01:41PM ● By David Brown
David Brown, president and CEO, Greater Omaha Chamber

Since early in 2018, the Chamber’s Urban Core Committee has been diligently working on a master plan for the central part of our city. The boundaries of the urban core are roughly the west end of Council Bluffs east to Saddle Creek Road, Cuming Street on the north and Leavenworth Street on the south. We hired consultants to look at housing, retail opportunities, organizational issues, and transportation needs. The city completed a parking study to complement our work. We also looked at each of the 29 development plans that had been completed for areas within the urban core over the past 20 years and found those projects that still had merit. Finally, we combined all of the relevant information into a master plan that identified some big moves that will help to transform the core and be key instigators of development. 

I hope you have all seen the Urban Core Master Plan (if not, you can find it on the chamber website at The short version is that we want to create a denser urban space that is attractive to residents and businesses alike. This dense space will be able to compete for people and investments that exist in other cities and have proven to be attractive to talent and businesses we want to keep and attract. The overall goals are easy to remember: 30,000 residents and 30,000 jobs over the next 20 years. 

Primarily, we will accomplish these goals by creating spaces for development where today we find underutilized infrastructure; providing new transportation infrastructure to move people around the core more efficiently using mass transit; marketing the area for new jobs and talent; and complementing the existing mix of housing options with plans for housing that meet both the income and diverse typology that the market is demanding. We will connect the core to North and South Omaha as well as Council Bluffs and west Omaha. We will build up. We will work with the city to revamp the regulations that deal with parking and street access. 

Infrastructure projects like the Omaha Street Car are already underway and the market has already responded with announced investments at the head of the Riverfront Park and along the Farnam Street boundary of the park. This is a dramatic vision for the core of our city with room for all developers and investors to make their marks. It is a place that will welcome visitors and residents alike. And it is a vision that will bring jobs back to the core of the city with a transportation network that will make those jobs accessible to everyone. 

It is an incredible time to be in Omaha. I invite you all to jump in and help make this vision a reality. 

This article originally appeared in the June/July 2022  issue of B2B Magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.  

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