Omaha City Council President Pete Festersen and the Benson Business Improvement District (BID) have announced that the $1.3 million needed to complete the Benson Business District renovation has been secured. As a result, the project will be constructed in the spring of 2015.
“This takes the momentum we’ve created in Benson to the next level and ensures it will remain a thriving business district well into the future,” said Festersen, who also spearheaded recent renovations of the business districts in Dundee and Florence. “I’m excited about the progress we’re making in our neighborhood business districts throughout the city and that so many great partners recognize the significance of this community development model.”
Festersen secured $700,000 in city transportation bonds dedicated to the project and has been working with merchants, neighbors, philanthropic interests, and city and state officials to develop the public-private partnership. Other project milestones already accomplished include a master plan completed with the Benson-Ames Alliance, the creation of a tax increment financing district and the revitalization of the Benson BID, which will help maintain the district after the renovation is completed.
In addition to the $700,000 in transportation bonds from the city, other major financial commitments include:
- $325,000 from the Peter Kiewit Foundation
- $300,000 from an anonymous donor, and
- $20,000 in maintenance funds from more than 90 Benson businesses.
Features will include the widening and replacement of all sidewalks, new curbs, new public plazas, traffic calming at several intersections, new landscaping, benches and bike racks from 59th to 63rd and Maple Streets, and a special event space along Military Avenue from Maple to Binney streets. The project extends improvements already completed at the intersection of 58th and NW Radial to 59th and Maple in 2013.
A public meeting on the project was held Oct. 29, and individual meetings with affected property owners will be held during the coming months.