A Downtown Skate Ribbon  – The Omaha News
Omaha News

A Downtown Skate Ribbon  – The Omaha News

By: Josue Garcia, Reporter

After the completion of the Gene Leahy Mall in July, Omaha’s riverfront development continues its second phase of construction at the Heartland of America Park. 

In 2023, The Heartland of America Park will open its doors to a A Skate Ribbon in the Downtown area. The privately-funded attraction is just a small part of a $50 million project.

The Metropolitan Entertainment and Convention Authority communications director Kristyna Engdahl, says the park will remain operational year-round thanks to new transitioning technology.

“Part of what makes the skate ribbon so unique is this addition of glycol lines. So instead of having to ice skate on slush when it gets to just above freezing,” said Engdahl.

The beginning stages of the development center, ground is planned out. No greenery shows pieces of what is now known as the Gene Leahy Mall. Image courtesy of Kristyna Engdahl/MECA development.

“The inclusion of this technology just helps make sure that the ice remains frozen, even when the weather creeps above freezing.”

The ribbon also offers roller skating or inline skating too because it transitions back to concrete.

The ribbon drew inspiration from Chicagos’ Maggie Daley Skate Ribbon, and will be one of the main park’s attractions, alongside the Farnam Pier which will run along the Missouri River.

Nearby business owners are excited for the growth the Skate Ribbon has to offer. Owner of the Old Market Candy Shop Jeff Jorgenson says the area is in need of more winter visitors.

Greenery pastures are recognizable while the ends of the parking lot locate the future ice rink.Image courtesy of Kristyna Engdahl/MECA development.

“An ice rink brings things for people to do in the winter time, we don’t have a lot to do in the winter time so what do we do? We stay home, we hibernate,” says Jorgenen. “So, really having an ice rink will really develop other things for people to do throughout the year.” 

The skate Ribbon will open once the third park is fully developed. The Gene Leahy Mall’s opening weekend attracted 50,000 visitors. MECA says the full development of the-three park project expects to attract 350,000. 

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