RDG Earns Golden Spike Award for Civic Contributions

Commitment to Omaha’s Downtown Redevelopment Prompts Move for Firm
RDG Planning & Design is the downtown-area winner of the 2004 Golden Spike Award presented by the Greater Omaha Chamber of Commerce. Established in 1979, the award recognizes businesses that have made outstanding contributions to the Omaha economy.
Designing bright, innovative early-childhood centers; restoring and expanding historic buildings; and moving its own headquarters downtown are just a few of the ways RDG has contributed to Downtown Omaha’s economic, retail, and residential revival—-a key factor in the firm’s selection for the award.
RDG and its employees energetically support downtown projects such as the Summer Arts Festival. As part of that event, RDG sponsors the annual Wind and Water Sculpture Exhibition. Last summer 18 sculptures were installed near RDG’s 10th & Farnam location. Several pieces will remain as permanent additions to the downtown landscape along Gene Leahy Mall.
“RDG has had an important role in the planning and evolution of Omaha’s downtown into a revitalized government, corporate, and upscale residential center,” said John Birge, one of RDG’s founders.
“In 2000, RDG moved downtown from its West Omaha location,” retaining in its restored downtown offices “the look and feel of an old brick warehouse” while incorporating style and efficiency.
The move downtown brought more than 50 employees to one of the city’s oldest districts. “The advantages of being downtown are many; to both the city and RDG,” Birge said.
“Our office space is a dynamic, creative environment for our staff,” he said, “and it’s an easy walk to the Missouri riverfront park and the Old Market with its restaurants, shops, galleries, and other businesses. We’re conveniently located for our downtown clients, plus we’re close to the airport and right across the street from two major hotels, which is convenient for out-of-town visitors as well.”
RDG contributes to Omaha’s economy in a number of other ways, said Birge. Seventy-five percent of the firm’s revenue comes from projects outside of Omaha, for example.
“Golden Spike Awards are a great way to recognize businesses that have been the cornerstone in their community and have expanded, improved, or added jobs,” said Mike Eck, Gateway Community Bank president and event sponsor. The Golden Spike was selected as the award’s symbol because of the railroad’s importance in Omaha’s early development. A golden spike marked completion of the first U.S. transcontinental railroad at Promontory Summit, Utah, linking east and west on May 10, 1869.


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