Omaha parks repurpose materials from mall renovation

Omaha parks repurpose materials from mall renovation
New limestone benches at the Hummel Park amphitheater have replaced outdated benches. Photo courtesy CITY OF OMAHA

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Omaha parks are repurposing leftover material from a mall renovation to construct seats and fencing.

About 170 tons (154.22 metric tons) of limestone from the west half of the Gene Leahy Mall have been claimed for use, the Omaha World-Herald reported . The limestone will be used at Hummel Park, Brown Park and Levi Carter Park, and to rebuild retaining walls along the city’s trail system.

Brook Bench, the city’s parks director, said city crews used limestone to build a 300-seat amphitheater at Hummel Park, which saved the city between $30,000 and $50,000. The amphitheater previously was built of cinder blocks and wood planks.

“We’ve been discussing this riverfront renovation for almost three years now, and we’ve been thinking about how we can reuse these materials,” Bench said Wednesday. “Anything that can be reused and salvaged is being salvaged and reused.”

Limestone was also used to line the parking lot at Levi Carter Park.

“It looks really nice and provides security, too,” Bench said.

More limestone is waiting to be mined from the east half of the downtown mall. Limestone will also be used to construct an amphitheater at Brown Park

Other materials salvaged from the mall include 13 benches donated by the Downtown Improvement District. The benches were refurbished and will be used at the park that opened last year.

Even brick from the mall is being painstakingly salvaged, cleaned and stacked.

“None of these materials are going to waste,” Bench said. “One thing about limestone — it lasts forever.”