Omaha Comes Out Of Its Shell

As 'Americans leave older urban centers for smaller, more manageable, less expensive areas with a high quality of life,' mid-sized cities, such as Omaha, NE, are taking on ambitious redevelopment efforts.
October 16, 2003, 2pm PDT | Connie Chung
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Near future plans for downtown Omaha include: a $300 million convention center and arena; a $100 million performing arts center; and the "doubling of housing units downtown." The sheer scale of Omaha's recent development "has drawn attention from Midwest neighbors such as Kansas City, Mo., and Des Moines, which are eyeing Omaha's resurgence with a mixture of envy and admiration....Like other conservative Midwest cities, Omaha had a 'we're a nice place to live, why fix what's not broken?' attitude toward change until about a decade ago. Then, city leaders looked around and realized downtown was losing businesses and had seen better times....While other cities between the coasts such as Denver had thrown themselves into reviving their downtowns and were competing aggressively for business, Omaha was playing it safe, afraid to take risks."

Thanks to Connie Chung

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Published on Sunday, October 12, 2003 in The Chicago Tribune

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