Pedestrian Bridge and Trail Officially Open for Valley Residents

The Papio-Missouri River Natural Resources District (Papio NRD), City of Valley, DC West Community Schools, YMCA of Greater Omaha, and other community partners today celebrated the grand opening of Valley’s new pedestrian bridge and trail.

(From left to right) Papio NRD General Manager John Winkler, Past Board President of YMCA of Greater Omaha Ford Fischer, Former Congressman Lee Terry, Papio NRD Board of Directors Rich Tesar, Papio NRD Natural Resources Planner Eric Williams, Valley Mayor Cindy Grove, DC West Schools Superintendent Dr. Melissa Poloncic, President and CEO of the YMCA of Greater Omaha Rebecca Deterding

The 450-foot pedestrian bridge and trail provide a major community connection point that improves safety, recreation, and active transportation for Valley residents.

“The pedestrian bridge spans the Union Pacific Railroad tracks and East Reichmuth Road (old Hwy 275),” said Eric Williams, natural resources planner for the Papio-Missouri River Natural Resources District. “The City of Valley needed a solution to literally bridge the gaps between major parts of the community, especially a safe route that prevented kids from directly crossing the rail lines or walking on the highway overpass. The bridge and trail provide these safety measures as well as increased recreational opportunities. So, it’s a double win for Valley residents,” said Williams.

“The City of Valley is extremely excited to have the trail and bridge finally open,” said Valley Mayor Cindy Grove. “This has been a multiple year project and residents have been eagerly anticipating the opening. Being able to connect the YMCA with the school and south side of the community with a safe place for residents to walk and bike has been much needed for several years.”

Williams says the project is a great example of the power of community partnerships and one that came at no cost to Valley taxpayers. The total cost of the pedestrian bridge and trail is approximately $7 million, with a majority of the cost from federal transportation funding, and the remaining contribution from the Papio NRD.

 

“I am entering my ninth year as superintendent and this is a project that was in planning when I arrived,” said Dr. Melissa Poloncic, superintendent of DC West Schools. “To see this large-scale project finally come together is really a wonderful thing for our community!”

“We are so excited for the completion of the trail and the impact it will have,” said Rebecca Deterding, president and CEO of the YMCA of Greater Omaha.  “This has been highly anticipated, and we look forward to it increasing access and collaboration between the YMCA, the school and the community.”

 

 

 

Elkhorn River Access Sites to Open April 1

The Papio-Missouri River Natural Resources District will open all river access sites to the Elkhorn River for the season on April 1st.

The Elkhorn River access sites include:

  • Elkhorn Crossing (intersection of 252nd & Bennington Road)
  • West Maple Road (West Maple Road northeast of Waterloo)
  • Graske Crossing (southeast corner of West Dodge Road & west of 204th St.)   

High river flows occasionally force the Papio NRD to temporarily close the river access sites for safety purposes. Park closures for Elkhorn River sites are called for when the Elkhorn River gauge at Waterloo reads a stage of 5 feet or greater. Also, river access ramps may need to be cleaned of silt, debris and safety inspected before reopening.

Status of the access sites – open or closed? 

You can find out whether the access sites are open or closed throughout the season here:

The access sites will be open from April 1 through November 1 from 6:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.

Cost Share Programs for FY 2023

Urban Drainageway Program, Hell Creek Channel Restoration Project

The Papio-Missouri River Natural Resources District has eight (8) cost share programs available to assist government agencies in addressing natural resources problems and to increase recreational opportunities.

Please see the annual letter which includes a description of each program, program guidelines, and application forms.

The deadline for applications under all programs is March 18, 2022.

Omaha Beltline Trail Construction Expected to Begin in 2022

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.

 

River Access Sites: Open or Closed? Check Here!

High river flows occasionally force the Papio NRD to temporarily close the river access sites for safety purposes. Park closures for Elkhorn River sites are called for when the Elkhorn River gauge at Waterloo reads a stage of 5 feet or greater. Also, river access ramps may need to be cleaned of silt, debris and safety inspected before reopening.

Here is the current status of Elkhorn River access sites:

  • Elkhorn Crossing (intersection of 252nd & Bennington Road) – CLOSED
  • West Maple Road (West Maple Road northeast of Waterloo) – CLOSED
  • Graske Crossing (southeast corner of West Dodge Road & west of 204th) – CLOSED

 

 

West Papio Trail Expansion Ready for Cycling Action

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.

 

 

Flanagan Lake Officially Opens to the Public

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.

Top