Many of us attended the meeting addressing the new Mutual of Omaha neighborhood development project proposal. Their plans are preliminary and some issues require a vote from the owners here in order to move forward. It could mean big changes in our neighborhood (not a bad thing), but also it could mean changes in our city views.
You know that feeling you have right after minor out-patient surgery? Like you’ve been beat about the head? That’s how I felt leaving the meeting. Since we don’t have all the information just yet, it leaves me feeling uncertain and frustrated.
Knowing that change might be in the works without knowing all the details is a scary thing. My usual mode of operation is to panic before I have all the details. But this time I’m going to try learning all the facts first. Yep, a complete new mode of operation for me, but this issue to too big to fly into a panic immediately.
We live on the north side. Before I bought my unit, I did some internet research to find out what was going to happen to the ugly, old, condemned North Tower. A World Herald Article stated that it was going to be remodeled. So, upon moving in, I was happy with my “see-a-sliver-of-the-park” view and knowing that the ugly building would be transformed into something appealing.
Then came the news that it was going to be torn down with the plan that something would be constructed down the road. Wowee! My view went from abandoned building to wide open sky! A full view of the park! Happy dance! And a zillion photos of it on Facebook. Sorry, friends, I couldn't help myself.
The photos you see here are a few captures from my chronical of the removal of the North Tower. For those of you new to our building, it was trippy – they took it down floor by floor. I called it The Unbuilding.
"The photos you see here are a few captures from my chronical of the removal of the North Tower. For those of you new to our building, it was trippy – they took it down floor by floor. I called it The Unbuilding."
So, I knew my view would end someday. I hoped the next building would be low….a one story building. But way back behind my eyeballs, I knew I was kidding myself. Midtown development has zero one story buildings. It’s my understanding the new proposed building for the north side would be 6 floors and that dramatically alters our scenery.
We'd still have our sliver-of-the-park view. And well, that’s where I started. I guess our wide open view was a “limited time only bonus”.
Would the south side residents miss the view of Sam’s Food and Liquor? Probably not. In my opinion, once the Clarinda went down (ug, that still hurts), the south side view lost it's original charm. The new proposed plan is for an office building to replace the entire stretch, so for some of the lower floors, their view of lovely trees and vintage homes will be gone.
Some residents on the east side would be most affected by a hotel blocking their amazing view of downtown. I hurt for my neighbors who might go from seeing lovely downtown to a brick wall of a hotel. I just want to hug you. If you see me approaching you with open arms, I’m not trying to steal your wallet, a hug is coming your way.
West side folks, you'd be spared, but since we’re all in this together, I know you'd feel for the rest of us.
I think what rattles me most is that my haven, my cozy place from a crazy world might be changing and well, there’s not much I can do about it. It’s one thing for the world to change, but another thing when it hits right at home.
I love looking at historic Omaha photos. Change has always been part of our city. It’s what thriving cities do – especially those neighborhoods close to downtown. So, let's get the facts. Weigh the positives and negatives. Have open, honest and respectful discussions. Show up for the vote. Together we can navigate through it.