In Ralston development plan, consultants suggest 'hinging' arena and downtown
Planners drafting Ralston's new 20-year development plan are talking about a way to tie together the Ralston Arena with a downtown interested in its own attention.
At a recent community meeting, urban planners suggested an idea called “the hinge,” an area running from the arena and turning into Ralston's downtown. It would have new businesses aimed at arena visitors and would draw them farther into Ralston before or after an arena event.
Part of the hinge plan includes creating a market street area and turning a former grain elevator into an outdoor entertainment space.
Urban planners from JEO Consulting Group and HDR Inc. emphasized that Ralston is at an advantage, having existing events and businesses from which to build. But they noted that downtown Ralston could use help to attract visitors.
HDR's Doug Bisson said downtown buildings are too closed off, featuring mainly blank, windowless walls. Many businesses downtown are part of the service industry, rather than being retail stores, which doesn't make them destinations.
Bisson and JEO's Jeff Ray said the trend in city planning leans toward “walkable urban neighborhoods.”
They said a growing number of senior citizens and younger people want to be able to walk or bike most places they go.
Creating this kind of walkable community requires more multiple-use buildings that could contain a retail store on one level and housing on another.
The planning team will continue to take ideas and comments through www.envisionralston.com, and a final draft of the plan is due in December.
Papillion councilman suggests improved Glenwood Hills Park for new splash pad
Papillion has allotted funds to build a second splash pad in the city.
While the city hasn't designated a location, Papillion City Councilman Tom Mumgaard said he is considering Glenwood Hills Park in southern Papillion.
Papillion's current splash pad is at Schwer Park in the northern part of the city.
Glenwood Hills was previously suggested, but neighborhood traffic and lack of parking caused concerns.
Those concerns have since been addressed, Mumgaard said. Now, visitors no longer need to drive through the neighborhood to reach the park, and a parking lot was built outside the neighborhood.
Construction could take place in winter or spring, allowing the splash pad to open by next summer.
La Vista Municipal Pool stays open and working all summer, defying expectation
Rumors of the demise of the La Vista Municipal Pool this season turned out to be all wet.
The 50-year-old pool, which suffered through a winter expected to wreak havoc on its weather-beaten pipes, remained open every day after its summer season started May 25.
The pool faced only routine maintenance and had no interruption of service. The biggest concern is that a pipe rupture would necessitate tearing up the pool's concrete basin for repairs.
La Vista saw attendance dip slightly, from 10,440 in 2011 and 10,275 in 2012 to 8,380 in 2013.
“I think it's going to be here for a while,” pool manager Katie Peterson said. “The business we do and the patrons we have will keep this place open and going.”