Tom Hanafan River's Edge Park, "a protector of the Missouri River's riparian woodland and wetlands, an example of award-winning public space design, a testament to the power of regional thinking," as described by the Omaha by Design, is the inaugural recipient of Omaha by Design's Environment and Open Space Award. The 90-acre park was completed in 2013 by Sasaki for the City of Council Bluffs and was also recognized with an Honor Award in Master Planning/Urban Design by the American Institute of Architects: Central States Region.
This Open Space Award, to be presented in a ceremony later this month, recognizes those who "preserve or enhance the [Omaha] metro's natural setting, park system and open spaces."
The much-loved park in downtown Omaha allows access to the river and also preserves key habitats and the riparian floodplain, The Omaha by Design organization commends several of the park's key features, including:
A true riverfront drive. The road design allows users to pass through dense woodlands before it opens up into the park's open spaces and continues along the banks of the river...public access to the riverfront has a minimal effect on the area's wildlife and unique vegetation.
The Great Lawn. A throwback to the landscape design days of visionaries like Horace W. Cleveland, the lawn's unique design accommodates large event crowds while still offering small intimate spaces for casual park visitors. A graceful amphitheater whose ends "die" beautifully into the lawn, bosks of trees framing the space, and a perfected sense of scale are several of the Great Lawn's trademark features.
Environmentally appropriate "green" features. All roadways and parking areas were constructed for minimal impact – they are bordered with bioswales, which retain water from the park's paved surfaces and allow it to slowly drain into the water table rather than run off into the river or storm sewer. The park also features dark sky lighting sources, and itsoverall design minimizes the amount of paving required by using smaller scale roadways and parking areas.
World class public art. The park hosts the work of two internationally renowned artists – Dan Corson's Rays, an interactive lighting environment that uses the Great Lawn as its canvas, and Mark di Suvero's Big Mo, a 75-foot "spacetime orange" sculpture. These large-scale permanent installations are sponsored by the Iowa West Foundation's Public Art Collection.
To learn more about the park and the award, click here.
Directly across from downtown Omaha and at the foot of the newly-completed Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge, the Council Bluffs Riverfront Park is a 90-acre public park situated within the broad riparian floodplain...