Green Guide

Observation tower proposed for Missouri River

Posted March 13

— The Bellevue City Council has voted to seek money for a 90-foot observation tower as part of a $1.7 million Missouri River research station that the University of Nebraska at Omaha wants to build.

Matt Knutson, an architect working with the university's Nebraska Watershed Network, told the council last month that the tower would be a major local landmark and an integral component to the research station.

The proposed tower would go on the north end of American Heroes Park, the Omaha World-Herald (http://bit.ly/2mSeHbx ) reported. Estimated to cost over $1 million, the tower would be the project's most expensive component. Council members expect private grants to fund the tower construction.

The overall project also includes a research station to monitor water quality, an interpretive center to attract students, an observation deck over the river and a landscaped garden. It was first proposed in 2014 and was expected to be operational in 2015, but the project was delayed due to funding problems. Another year is expected to pass as the university attempts to make room in its budget for the research station, interpretive center and landscape garden.

Knutson said he and university professor Alan Kolok will continue to advocate for the construction of the research station, which would link with other established stations in the metro area.

"I know from speaking with Dr. Kolok that he very much wants to do this station, but he's not the only one who gets to decide that," Knutson said. "So that is where we are with that."

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