RDG In the Media: Transforming South Omaha’s Plaza de la Raza

RDG is working with community representatives on a phased approach to the plaza that blends with the existing streetscape, emphasizes Latino culture and reflects historical diversity.

In a South Omaha, Nebraska parking lot sits a few benches and trees along with a plaque dedicated in 1988 that reads: “La Plaza de la Raza, The Gathering Place of the Races.” The location sits at the center of an area best known for hosting Omaha’s annual Cinco de Mayo festival and Mexican Independence Day celebration and is at the heart of the business district in South Omaha. Thanks to a recent commitment from the Douglas County Board to provide $500,000 in federal pandemic recovery funds, plus another expected $500,000 in federal recovery money from the City of Omaha, a nearly 20-year-old proposal to renovate the worn-out parking lot into a festival and community gathering space may finally be realized.

In recent conversations with multiple local media outlets, RDG Planning & Design’s Marty Shukert explained that the firm is working with community representatives on a phased approach to the renovated plaza. The plan will blend with the existing streetscape from L to Q Streets and emphasize Latino culture while also reflecting historic diversity.

RDG previously worked with the South Omaha community on the Historic South Omaha Streetscape Renovation, which expanded accessibility and safety along the streetscape, creating diagonal parking on both sides of the street, a single touch-lane in each direction and four-way stops at internal intersections. Photo by IRIS22 Productions.

Improvements to the plaza could begin as early as next year and will emphasize the inclusion of an amphitheater with a performance stage for dance and performing arts, along with an inviting play area for families with children.

Read more about plans for the improved Plaza de la Raza in features from local media outlets KMTV 3 News Now, the Nebraska Examiner and the Omaha World-Herald.

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