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      Future Of Benson Ice Arena Becoming Clearer

      Paul Gutierrez

      OMAHA (KPTM) - A plan is in the works that would breathe new life into a run down space surrounding the defunct Benson Ice Arena; a rink forced to close its doors in 2009 after heavy snowfall damaged the 40-year-old facility's roof.

      "I think Benson has a bright future ahead," said Jenny Schneckloth, who works in Benson.

      That future includes a nearby playground. From picnic areas to new trails, Parks and Recreation wants to make it accessible for everyone, including children with disabilities. Seymour Smith Park on the Douglas-Sarpy County line would serve as its model.

      "It would be wheelchair compliant," confirmed Parks Director Brook Bench.

      The city estimated it would have cost more than $1.5 million just to put ice back into the rink, and the general thinking was it wasn't worth it, so contractors will tear it down. The next step in the process is now getting to work in the next two to three weeks.

      "Having that space open will really give us some room there that we need in the park," said Bench.

      It's a change that has parts of the community humming.

      "It's going to make it a place to go in Omaha," said Schneckloth.

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