Colorful signs pointing visitors to nearly 30 attractions are popping up around downtown Omaha.
Wednesday, the city and the Downtown Improvement District announced the start of the Downtown Omaha Wayfinding Project. Expected to be completed by the end of March, the project will post 88 signs directing pedestrians and drivers to 27 of Omaha's most notable institutions and attractions.
Among the destinations that will get their own signs: Gene Leahy Mall, Creighton University, the Holland Performing Arts Center, Film Streams, Midtown Crossing, the north downtown area, the Omaha Children's Museum, the Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge and the University of Nebraska Medical Center.
Half of the signs will be large enough to be visible to motorists. Those will be placed as far south as Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo & Aquarium, north to Abbott Drive, west to Midtown Crossing and east to the Interstate ramp that joins Omaha and Council Bluffs. Smaller, pedestrian-friendly signs will be posted in and around the Old Market.
Crews began installing the signs Tuesday. The first to go up are at the northeast and northwest corners at the intersection of 10th and Jackson Streets.
Officials said the signs should help both newcomers to Omaha and people who already spend time downtown. They hope the additional information and direction will encourage more people to walk and check out new destinations.
“This will make the city of Omaha a better place to be,” said John Sova, principal at RDG Planning & Design, which helped develop the system. “When people come here, they'll feel more comfortable about being downtown.”
The $800,000 project has been in the works since 2005, but organizers didn't begin developing the system until late 2011. Funding was provided by the Downtown Improvement District, Mutual of Omaha, Midtown Crossing, First National Bank and other donors. The City of Omaha chipped in $100,000.
Mayor Jim Suttle said more improvements that will make Omaha more accessible to visitors will be coming in the future.
“This is showing we're a first-class city,” Suttle said.
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