Gene Leahy Mall Near Completion

OMAHA (KPTM)- After seven months of construction, the Gene Leahy Mall is almost completed, according to city officials.

Construction crews are cleaning on construction materials and adding lighting. The lagoon should start to be filled up by Thursday or Friday, and will take several days, according to Omaha City Parks Director, Brook Bench.

"Just a few days ago, they had a whole crew out there trying to finish," said Mark Norris. Norris has been following the construction at the Gene Leahy mall closely since in began seven months ago.

"The weather the last few days has been horrible for that," said Norris.

Despite rain in the ten-day forecast, Norris said he's counting on the fact that the crew can get everything done in time for the Festival of Lights.

"I'm a fourth generation Omaha. My grandparents came here in the 1890s to work for Union Pacific-and I just have a lot of Omaha in my blood," said Norris.

As of Wednesday, landscaping had been completed on the island, the limestone walls were set, and crews were connecting the last parts of the sidewalk.

"I believe within a couple of hours they are going to start filling the lagoon back up with water again," said Norris.

Brook Bench said construction fences are set to drop November 25th, a couple of days before the festival. Norris said he has full faith it'll happen.

"I think it will be done in time for thanksgiving-they just have a few things to do," said Norris.

Bench said crews plan to lay sod in the spring. Bench also said the lagoon won't be stocked with fish, but that tends to happen naturally over time.

The project cost $1.8 million dollars, with $100,000 donated from the NRD and $500,000 donated from the environmental trust, according to bench.

This is the first time Gene Leahy Mall has been renovated.

Maureen Wurtz