The Papio NRD is partnering with the City of Omaha to develop the Beltline Trail to provide recreation, active transportation, and access to natural resources to people within the District. The trail creates a connection from the intersection of Hamilton St. at Military Ave., to the North Omaha Transit Center.
The proposed trail alignment follows the former Missouri Pacific Railroad corridor and will be constructed in multiple phases. Phase 1 of the project was bid in the fall of 2021 and construction of this phase is expected to begin in 2022. The remaining phases of the project are outlined in the master plan.
New three-mile bike trail connects west Omaha to Bellevue area –
a milestone 25 years in the making
On October 2, 2018, the Papio-Missouri River Natural Resources District and the Cities of Omaha and La Vista celebrated the grand opening of a new three-mile stretch of the West Papio Trail in Millard that links west Omaha to the Bellevue area. The new segment creates a 130-mile network through Douglas and Sarpy Counties that’s been more than 25 years in the making.
The West Papio Trail addition connects the existing trail at 108th & Giles Road to the new Lumberyard District at 132nd & Q Street. While technically small in size, the connection provides tremendous recreational opportunities with historical significance by connecting Millard and west Omaha to La Vista, Papillion, and Bellevue – stretching down to the Missouri River by a continuous dedicated trail corridor.
“This regionally significant and boundary-breaking project provides expanded recreation, active transportation for Omaha metro residents, and increased access to natural resources,” said Eric Williams, Papio NRD Natural Resources Planner. “The Papio-Missouri Natural Resources District was fortunate to partner with the Cities of La Vista and Omaha in the design and construction of this milestone project,” said Williams.
“Through the partnership of the Papio-Missouri River Natural Resource District and the City of La Vista, we are all very excited to announce the completion of the West Papio Trail extension that links West Omaha and Bellevue,” said Brook Bench, City of Omaha Parks and Recreation Director. “This trail segment will allow for more recreation in the community and will serve as an active avenue for transportation for Omaha metro residents.”
“Today we celebrate the extension of the West Papio Trail which connects with La Vista,” said La Vista Mayor Douglas Kindig. “Projects such as this one are not possible without partners and cooperation between different entities. The completion of this project will improve the quality of life and provide a valuable amenity to our citizens,” said Kindig.
The trail expansion follows the original stretch of the former Union Pacific transcontinental railroad. The Papio NRD was able to restore all of the old bridges that will now be used as trail bridges. National “rails to trails” efforts are focused on reusing abandoned railroad property for multi-use paths, allowing long, flat corridors to become community focus points and preserving the history of railroad infrastructure.
As the most well-known railroad in America, this new section of trail highlights the natural geographic features, incorporates transportation and commerce history, and connects communities just as the railroad did nearly 150 years ago.
The West Papio Trail expansion project cost $3.2 million, with the Cities of Omaha and La Vista each contributing 20 percent of the cost.
Flood control reservoir provides public safety and recreational opportunities for Omaha citizens
Omaha, NE, June, 27, 2018 – The Papio-Missouri River Natural Resources District and the City of Omaha today celebrated the grand opening of Flanagan Lake, Omaha’s latest flood control reservoir in the Papillion Creek Watershed, that provides flood protection for Omaha citizens and 730 acres of recreational benefits, such as a 220-acre lake, five-mile hiking/biking trail, and park and green space.
“Flanagan Lake is a reservoir designed to protect the lives and property of Omaha citizens from floods,” said John Winkler, general manager of the Papio-Missouri River Natural Resources District. “This is its primary purpose. The recreational amenities that accompany these types of public safety infrastructure projects are made possible through partnerships. So, it’s flood protection with some incredible cherries on top,” said Winkler.
The $47 million project, located near 168th and Fort Streets, is the largest single flood control structure undertaken by the Papio NRD. It will retain stormwater runoff from an upstream area of approximately 11 square miles. Once the Papio NRD completed construction of the reservoir in 2018, the City of Omaha took over management of the park.
“Just as Father Flanagan created Boys Town to provide a family-centered environment for children, Flanagan Lake is a beautiful public space that will provide family-oriented recreation and leisure,” said Mayor Jean Stothert. “Our excellent parks system provides free entertainment in every part of Omaha. We look forward to opening a Boys Town playground next year, and offering year-round activities for everyone,” said Stothert.
“While the recreational benefits are much more apparent to citizens, providing public safety is Flanagan Lake’s number one job,” said Winkler. “Most people aren’t aware of this. So, as citizens run the trail or kayak the waters, they can do so knowing flood protection is in action while they play.”
To continue the grand opening celebration, Winker also announced the kick-off a city-wide “Dam Fun Contest,” where citizens can enter to win recreation-themed prizes donated by sponsors. For more contest information, visit www.flanaganlake.com.
Additional companies/organizations involved in the design and construction of Flanagan Lake who spoke at today’s grand opening ceremony included HDR, Inc. Vice President & Project Manager John Engel, Nebraska Game and Parks Commission Chairman Dick Bell, Papio NRD Board of Directors Chairman David Klug, and City of Omaha Parks and Recreation Director Brook Bench.