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					Bellevue Future
         A COMMUNITY
         AGENDA FOR
         BELLEVUE, NEBRASKA




        P R E PA R E D W I T H T H E B E L L E V U E
        CHAMBER OF COMMERCE AND
        THE CITY AND CITIZENS OF
        BELLEVUE BY RDG CROSE
        GARDNER SHUKERT

        MARCH, 2002
                             Bellevue Future
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS


W
          e gratefully acknowledge the friendship and leadership of Megan Lucas and Dan
          Koenig, Executive Directors of the Bellevue Chamber of Commerce during the develop
          ment of this plan. Doris Unwin of the Chamber was also indispensable during this
process. Bernie Pilachowski, Tom Richards, and Ralph Froelich provided leadership, insight, and
patience throughout. We greatly appreciated the interest, commitment, and ideas of Mayor Jerry
Ryan as well as members of the Bellevue City Council and city administration. The work of
community residents listed here who served on committees as well as those who attended com-
munity workshops and completed surveys were critical to this effort. We hope that this plan
serves you well as you use it as a tool to capitalize on the future.

BELLEVUE FUTURE COMMITTEE MEMBERS
Michael Abbott             Jana Erickson           Jason Keese              Robert Rose
Jeremy Acker               Jane Erickson           Dan Koenig               Joan Rousseau
Tom Ackley                 Kyle Fairbairn          Brenda Kohout            Rick Sanders
Stephanie Ahlschwede       John Farnan             Jonie Koskovick          Kathy Sanluk
Harold Anderson            Chuck Fredrick          Chuck Larchevesque       Kathy Seglberg
Jim Arbuckle               Ralph Froehlich         Claire Larchevesque      Robert Serfass
Pam Arbuckle               Susie Gale              Robin Larsen             Patricia Shannon
Roger Auf                  Pete Glenboski          Barbara Lemke            Brad Smith
Robert Baker               Pattie Gorham           James LeVan              Robert Sterba
Lori Ballinger             Staci Gowan             Bernard Lichvar          Don Stevens
Dank Bankey                Cathy Grage             Mary Lou Herring         Paul Swanson
Becky Berg                 Georgia Gregg           Megan Lucas              Donna Trojanowski
Lori Bickford              Beth Gutlerrez          Bess Mandich             Jim Trojanowski
Dorthy Blankman            Jean Hankinz            John McClelland          Fred Uhe
Diane Bockman              Marge Hartnett          Jim McCoy                Doris Urwin
Joseph Bockman             Paul Harnett            Kathy McCoy              Bill Van Haaften
Courtney Boryca            Pat Hause               Vicki McGuire            Linda Van Haaften
Barry Boyd                 Roxanne Hause           Daryl Millus             Lisa Walker
Keith Brennen              Dean Hayes              Drew Miller              Mark Wayne
Mary Busch                 Judy Hayes              Dick Moser               Dvae Wess
Justine Campbell           David Hebert            Dave Mullen              Cathy Williams
Pete Castellano            Mary Hebert             Dave Muller
Paula Cholewa              John Heida              Marie Nagel              Mayor
Connie Christians          Nancy Heida             Mary Sue Offerjost       Jerry Ryan
Ken Conley                 Terry Herring           John Ott
Kathleen Crawford-Rose     Russ Higgins            Dale Parkes              City Council
Jerry Cronk                Clarence Hightower      Carolyn Parkes           Edward Babbitt
Dick Daltering             Cal Hinz                Dorothy Patach           Hastings Banner
Joette Daltering           Dane Hodges             Debbie Pennington        Larry Casclo
Deb Davis                  Belly Honcik            Bernie Pilachowski       Gus Erickson
John Dawson                Gregg Hoogeveen         Jack Postlewait          Chuck Fredrick
Jeff Deegan                Sue Hoogeveen           Patricia Regan           Theresa Hatcher
Joette Deltering           Shirley Hoover          Willis Regler            John Ott
Tom Doerr                  Mimi Janda              Tom Richards             David Sanborn
Zona Doerr                 Larry Johnson           Iri Rickman              John Stacey
Aldona Doyle               Mike Jungors            Bob Riedel               David Wees
Chuck Emig                 Dan Kappel              Jeff Rippe
Gus Erickson               Tom Kerfoot             Jim Robertson
                            Bellevue Future
TA B L E O F C O N T E N T S




I S S U E I D E N T I F I C AT I O N              3
Assessment of Community Systems                   6
Future Role of Bellevue                           8
The Community Survey                             10

S T R AT E G I C I S S U E S                     15
The Framework of Bellevue                        17
Services to People                               25
Special Places                                   33
Business and Economic Development                41
Public and Private Leadership and Partnerships   47

AN ACTION AGENDA                                 53
Growth Framework                                 57
City Centers                                     61
Old Town Center                                  64
Fort Crook Road                                  66
The Riverfront                                   69
Park Development                                 72
Economic Development                             75
Community Image and Marketing                    78
Partnerships and Community Involvement           80

IMPLEMENTING BELLEVUE’S FUTURE                   83
What life have you if you have not life together?
There is no life that is not in community,
And no community not lived in praise of God.

                                       - T.S. Eliot
                                                         I S S U E I D E N T I F I C AT I O N



                 Bellevue Future
INTRODUCTION




         D
                  uring its long history, Bellevue has been an extraordinarily successful
                  community. From a small settlement rooted in the fur trade, Bellevue
                  has grown to be Nebraska’s third largest city, a critical base for our
         national defense, and a dynamic part of an expanding metropolitan area. The
         city offers its citizens a high quality educational system and a wide variety of
         activities, services, and opportunities. Yet, dynamic growth also brings sub-
         stantial challenges, unified by the question of what kind of community will
         Bellevue be in the future. This plan, sponsored by the City of Bellevue and the
         Bellevue Chamber of Commerce, is the result of a participatory process, de-
         signed to address this fundamental question.

         The word “community” is often used as a synonym for a city, but the word
         actually means much more. The Latin root of the word literally means “one
         with,” implying citizens who are linked by common interest as well as by
         place of residence. Throughout the planning process that led to this docu-
         ment, the striving for community was a common theme. In a way, Bellevue
         Future represents an agenda for community in the new century. It identifies
         visions and action programs for a number of critical areas that, taken together,
         can create a new and distinctive type of city.

         Bellevue Future is a plan that grew out of a community planning process that
         involved hundreds of people in a number of capacities. People contributed to
         the process by attending workshops, completing surveys, and participating
         in small group sessions. To the degree that this plan succeeds, it will be be-
         cause of these efforts by Bellevue’s citizens, driven by a desire to build an even
         better place for themselves and future generations. The plan represents a
         challenge to Bellevue, a challenge that the participants in this planning pro-
         cess have presented to themselves for the next century.

         Bellevue Future includes three major sections:

         - Issue Identification, documenting the participatory process and results that
         helped define strategic issues and opportunities facing the city.

         - Strategic Issues, examining existing conditions and strategic directions for
         each of five key issue areas.

         - An Action Agenda, identifying specific projects and programs that most di-
         rectly address Bellevue’s strategic priorities.



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Bellevue Future




  ISSUE IDENTIFICATION




                         3
4
                                                                    I S S U E I D E N T I F I C AT I O N



                           Bellevue Future
T H E I S S U E I D E N T I F I C AT I O N P R O C E S S




                   T
                          he work of citizens in defining key issues is central to the Bellevue Fu
                          ture Plan. The initial part of the planning process involved definition of
                          strategic issues. In considering its future, a community must sift
                   through a bewildering array of competing priorities and individual and group
                   agendas. Each of these addresses a worthy and serious goal. Yet, a commu-
                   nity strategic plan must establish focuses – defining a desired future for the
                   city and identifying those issues and priorities that can most effectively achieve
                   that future.

                   The Bellevue Future planning process involved hundreds of residents in an
                   effort to help define the city’s future and strategic goals as it enters the twenty-
                   first century. In order to achieve maximum involvement, the planning pro-
                   cess included:

                   • A steering committee, with membership drawn from the Bellevue Chamber
                   of Commerce and the City of Bellevue, as the sponsors of this plan.

                   • A broad-based plan advisory committee, representing about 70 community
                   leaders involved in business, education, and civic life. This group formed the
                   principal core of the planning process and served on individual issue-oriented
                   working groups after the completion of the issue fefinition process.

                   • An Environmental Scan Survey, completed by a “Leadership Group” that
                   included plan advisory committee members augmented by other business
                   and civic leaders under the aegis of the Chamber of Commerce. The survey
                   was designed to assess current community systems, evaluate potential futures
                   for the city, and to define key priorities for the future.

                   • A program of seven community workshops, held in a variety of settings and
                   locations around Bellevue. The workshops involved about 100 participants
                   from the community at large. Workshop participants completed a form of
                   the Environmental Scan Survey and worked in 14 small strategic planning
                   groups.

                   • A random written community survey, enclosed in 10% of the utility bills of
                   Bellevue residents; 432 surveys were returned and tabulated.

                   This section describes the results of this inductive process, designed to direct
                   the many issues and priorities tht concern Bellevue’s citizens through a filter
                   to define areas of future focus.



                                                                                                     5
I S S U E I D E N T I F I C AT I O N
                                                                  OAFB/Community Relations

    ASSESSMENT OF COMMUNITY SYSTEMS                                     Elementary education

                                                                         Development of JFK

                                                                            Bellevue's people

An Environmental Scan Survey was completed by                                 Future Grow th

                                                                        Secondary education
three separate groups of participants: the initial lead-                  Housing Availability

ership group, participants at the seven public plan-                          Police services

                                                                New Residential Development
ning workshops, and recipients of the general com-                                   Livability

munity survey. Participants ranked 45 community sys-                   Overall Quality of Life

                                                                              Local Economy
tems and features on a “5” to “1” scale, rating each                         Sew er systems

system for quality. Scores were aggregated to produce                   Solid Waste Disposal
                                                                        Community Character
an average score for each system.                                           Medical Services

                                                                              Regional Roads

                                                                           City Administration
Each group returned similar rankings of existing sys-                 Fort Crook Rd Potential
tems, generally considering Bellevue’s strongest features               Housing Affordability

to include:                                                                  City Government

                                                                  Retail Variety and Selection

                                                                         Design/Appearance

•   The primary and secondary educational systems.                          Business Climate
                                                                      Parks and Open Space
•   Relationships between the Offutt and Bellevue com-                     Local Traffic Flow

    munities.                                                                     City Council

                                                                            Local Leadership
•   Development activity, including both residential                  Community Involvement

    growth and development related to the Kennedy                           Historic Buildings
                                                                             Senior Services
    Freeway.                                                            Zoning Effectiveness

•   Bellevue’s people.                                                   Community Direction

                                                                                 Job Creation
•   Public safety services.                                        Recreational Opportunities

•   The quality of Bellevue as a place to live.                      Regional Transportation

                                                                       Recreational Facilities

                                                                             Family Activities
The three groups also displayed strong agreement, with                           Olde Tow ne

some significant differences. The “leadership” and                                Tax Levels
                                                                                      Tourism
“workshop” groups gave the following features or sys-                 Ability to Attract Youth

tems low ratings:                                                        Riverfront Utilization

                                                                                                  1   1.5      2    2.5   3    3.5   4    4.5



•   Utilization of the riverfront.                               Leadership Group Assessment
•   Variety of retailing.
                                                                 The initial leadership group considered elementary educa-
•   The City Council, with emphasis on its structure.            tion, the development potential of the Kennedy Freeway, the
•   Recreational facilities.                                     people of Bellevue, secondary education, future growth pros-
•   Olde Towne.                                                  pects, and the relationship between Offutt and the community
                                                                 to be major community strengths. This group rated riverfront
•   Difficulty in achieving consensus around commu-              utilization, retail variety, the City Council. recreational facili-
    nity direction.                                              ties, Olde Towne, and the ability to achieve consensus over
                                                                 community direction lowest among community systems.




Ten Highest       Leadership Group                   Workshops Group                                        Survey Respondents
Rated
                  1. Elementary education            1. Elementary education                                1. Offutt/community relationship
Community         2. Potential of Kennedy Freeway    2. Offutt/community relationship                       2. Elementary education
Systems           3. Bellevue’s people               3. Bellevue’s people                                   3. Potential of Kennedy Freeway
                  4. Secondary education             4. Secondary education                                 4. Bellevue’s people
                  5. Future growth prospects         5. Potential of Kennedy Freeway                        5. Growth prospects
                  6. Offutt/community relationship   7. Police services                                     6. Secondary education
                  7. Police services                 8. Livability                                          7. Housing availability
                  8. Livability                      5. Future growth prospects                             8. Police services
                  9. Community involvement           9. New residential growth                              9. Development quality
                  10. Housing availability           10. Housing availability                               10. Livability
6
                                                                                                                         I S S U E I D E N T I F I C AT I O N
        Elementary Education                                                                   Elementary education

  OAFB/Community Relations                                                                      Development of JFK

            Bellevue's People                                                                      Bellevue's people

        Secondary Education                                                                    Secondary education

         Development of JFK                                                                          Future Grow th

              Police Services                                                            OAFB/Community Relations

                     Livability                                                                      Police services

              Future Grow th                                                                                Livability

New Residential Development                                                                  Community Involvement

          Housing Availability                                                                   Housing Availability
              Local Economy                                                                   Overall Quality of Lif e
       Overall Quality of Life                                                         New Residential Development
      Community Involvement                                                                          Local Economy
            Medical Services                                                                        Sew er systems
              Sew er System                                                                          Regional Roads
        Storm Water System                                                                     Solid Waste Disposal
     Regional Transportation                                                                       Medical Services
            Historic Buildings                                                                 Storm Water System
            Fort Crook Road                                                                    Housing Af fordability
        Solid Waste Disposal                                                                        Senior Services
          Affordable Housing                                                                       Historic Buildings
        Community Character                                                                       Local Traf fic Flow
            Income and Jobs                                                                  Fort Crook Rd Potential
             Senior Services                                                                   Community Character
           Local Traffic Flow                                                                      Income and Jobs
                 Job Creation                                                                      Business Climate
           City Administration                                                                    City Administration
            Community Image                                                                             Job Creation
              Regional Roads
                                                                                             Economic Development
      Economic Development
                                                                                                             Tourism
            Business Climate
                                                                                                          Tax Levels
                   Tax Levels
                                                                                             Parks and Open Space
      Parks and Open Space
                                                                                            Regional Transportation
             Family Activities
                                                                                               Zoning Ef fectiveness
                      Tourism
                                                                                                   Local Leadership
         Design/Appearance
                                                                                                    Family Activities
            Local Leadership
                                                                                                   Community Image
           Rec. Opportunities
                                                                                                 Citizen Participation
            City Government
                                                                                         Neighborhood Connections
        Zoning Effectiveness
                                                                                                    City Government
  Neighborhood Connections
                                                                                          Recreational Opportunities
          Citizen Participation
                                                                                                Design/Appearance
      Ability to Attract Young
                                                                                             Ability to Attract Youth
         Community Direction
                                                                                                Community Direction
                 Olde Tow ne
                                                                                                        Olde Tow ne
                Rec. Facilities
                                                                                              Recreational Facilities
                  City Council
                                                                                                         City Council
  Retail Variety and Selection
                                                                                         Retail Variety and Selection
         Riverfront Utilization
                                                                                                Riverfront Utilization
                                  1    1.5   2    2.5    3    3.5     4   4.5

                                                                                                                         1   1.5   2   2.5   3    3.5      4   4.5

  Workshop ParticipantsAssessment                                                       Survey Respondents Assessment

  Partcipants at community workshops had perceptions very                               Respondents to the random community survey agreed with
  close to those of the leadership group. Workshop participants                         the other two groups on the top five rated systems, but dis-
  rated the same five systems at the top of their lists, although in                    played some differences at the other end of the scale. The
  somewhat different order from the leadership group. Work-                             public at large rated the City Council higher and the reason-
  shop participants and the leadership group also agreed on teh                         ableness of tax levels lower than either of the other two tabu-
  bottom-rated issues.                                                                  lation groups. While agreeing with low ratings on riverfront
                                                                                        utilization and Olde Towne, the community survey partcipants
                                                                                        gave very low ratings to Bellevue’s ability to retain and at-
                                                                                        tract young people, tourism potential, and the reasonableness
                                                                                        of tax levels.


Ten                                   Leadership Group                    Workshops Group                                    Survey Respondents
LowestRated
                                      1. Riverfront use                   1. Riverfront use                                  1. Riverfront use
Community                             2. Retail variety                   2. Retail variety                                  2. Ability to attract young
Systems                               3. City Council                     3. City Council                                    3. Tourism potential
(from lowest                          4. Recreation facilities            4. Recreation facilities                           4. Olde Towne
up)                                   5. Olde Towne                       5. Olde Towne                                      5. Reasonableness of taxes
                                      6. Community direction              6. Community direction                             6. Family activities
                                      7. Ability to attract young         7. Ability to attract young                        7. Recreation facilities
                                      8. City design and appearance       8. Citizen participation                           8. Regional transportation
                                      9. City government                  9. Neighborhood links                              9. Recreation opportunities
                                      10. Recreation opportunities        10. Zoning effectiveness                           10. Job creation
                                                                                                                                                               7
    I S S U E I D E N T I F I C AT I O N
                                The general public survey gave significantly higher comparative ratings to the
                                City Council and definition of community direction. This larger group gave
                                particularly low ratings to:

                                •   The city’s ability to retain and attract young people.
                                •   Tourism potential.
                                •   Reasonableness of tax levels.
                                •   Activities for families and children.

                                    FUTURE ROLE OF BELLEVUE

                                Bellevue as a growing city can choose among several alternative futures, each
                                of which is a valid outcome but has different policy implications. The issue
                                identification process asked each group to define a desirable future for the
                                city.
                                Four specific community future concepts were presented:

                                •   Continued growth as a primarily residential, suburban city. This future
                                    implies that Bellevue will grow as a “bedroom city” in the Omaha metro-
                                    politan area, and that the bulk of new investment in th e community will
                                    be housing-related.

                                •   Development as a balanced community, complementing residential de-
                                    velopment with substantial commercial and employment growth.

                                •   Slowing or stabilization of growth, with public investment concentrated
                                    more on upgrading existing facilities rather than expanding infrastructure
                                    and services into expanding areas.

                                •   Emergence as an urban subcenter, featuring a mixed use, high-density
                                    center. This is a pettern of development experienced by several suburban
                                    cities and “edge communities” in major metropolitan areas. Examples of
                                    this city evolution include Bellevue, Washington and Naperville, Illinois.

                                About 70% of the Leadership Group favored the balanced growth scenario,
                                with about 17% favoring high quality suburban residential growth and about
                                10% favoring a slowing and consolidation of growth. By contrast, only about
                                50% of workshop participants favored the balanced growth alternative and
                                24% and 18% favored the suburban residential and slow growth scenarios.
                                Of community survey participants, 42% favored balanced growth while 27%
                                favored suburban residential development and 25% called for a slowing or
                                stabilization of growth. These interesting findings suggested that:

                                •   People in community and business leadership positions are more likely to
                                    support diversified growth than residents of the city at large.

                                •   While a plurality of residents favor balanced growth, a significant minor-
                                    ity favor growth that is heavily weighted to residential development. A
                                    similar percentage favor a slowing of growth in favor of investments in
                                    existing facilities.


8
                                                                         I S S U E I D E N T I F I C AT I O N
Goals and Priorities

The three community groups identified goals and priorities in different ways,
depending on the methods used in each context. However, despite these
differences in approach, significant areas of agreement emerged.

Leadership Group

In unprompted survey question, leadership group members generally men-
tioned economic development most often as an overall area for commuity
goals. Retail development and increasing industrial growth and job opportu-
nities were frequently mentioned as top community priorities. Other goals in
a variety of areas that received frequent mentions as goals for the city in-
cluded:

•   Improving the community’s image.
•   Increasing community involvement and citizen support for community
    action and growth.
•   Considering changes in the structure of city government, including de-
    creasing the size of the City Council.
•   Revitalizing the Olde Towne district.
•   Increasing recreational opportunities.
•   Maintaining a quality educational system.

Within these general goals, specific projects identified most frequently as pri-
orities for Bellevue included:

•   A new recreation center, community center, or YMCA.
•   Additional parks, including more trails and riverfront development.
•   Redevelopment of the Fort Crook Road corridor.
•   Redevelopment and creation of additional businesses in Olde Tow ne.
•   Development of a new bridge to replace the existing Bellevue Bridge.
•   Additional retail growth.
•   Developing a new or substantially improved library

Workshop Participants

Participants at community workshops both completed surveys and met in
groups to determine community goals and priorities. Like their counterparts
in the leadership group survey, economic development (including retail and
industrial development) was mentioned most frequently as the city’s priority
goal. Other frequently mentioned goals included:

•   Improved recreational programming and park development.
•   Redevelopment of Olde Towne.
•   Improved government/community relationships, including an improved
    City Council.
•   A stronger community image.
•   Pro-active, advance planning.



                                                                                                           9
 I S S U E I D E N T I F I C AT I O N
                             Workshop participants responding individually considered a recreation cen-
                             ter to be the city’s highest project priority. Other frequently mentioned spe-
                             cific actions or projects included:

                             •   Improvements to city government.
                             •   Olde Towne revitalization.
                             •   Street improvement programs.
                             •   Library enhancements.
                             •   Riverfront development.
                             •   A skate park.
                             •   A shopping mall, along with enhanced general retailing.
                             •   A new comprehensive plan.

                             During the process, workshop participants met in 14 small working groups,
                             designed to develop consensus around goals and priorities. The groups began
                             by identifying the priority issues that bellevue should address during the next
                             ten years. Issues mentioned most frequently (with number of groups ad-
                             dressing each issue in parentheses) included:

                             •   Recreation and park facilities (8 of 12 groups)
                             •   City government and its structure (8)
                             •   Riverfront development, including Haworth Park (6)
                             •   A sense of community (5)
                             •   Retailing (5)
                             •   Need for higher paying jobs (4)
                             •   Activities and features for youth (4)

                             Most frequently mentioned goals included:

                             •   Economic development and greater job diversification (7 of 14 groups)
                             •   More responsive, streamlined city government (7)
                             •   A recreation center or YMCA (6)
                             •   A stronger community image and identity (6)
                             •   Riverfront development (6)
                             •   An orderly, long-term growth plan (5)
                             •   Olde Towne revotalization (4)
                             •   An expanded trail system (4)
                             •   Expanded park facilities (4)
                             •   An improved, more attractive physical environment (4)
                             •   Improved codes and zoning enforcement (4)

                             The Community Survey

                             Respondents to the community survey responded to two questions related to
                             future goals and priorties. One question listed 21 potential priorities or ac-
                             tions. Respondents were asked to rate each one on a “5” to “1” scale, with the
                             top score representing improvements of greatest importance to the city. The
                             second question asked participants to write the city’s highest priorites without
                             prompting.

                             The rating of priorities suggested by the survey produced very interesting and
                             in some cases surprising results. Improved park and recreational programs,
10
                                                                        I S S U E I D E N T I F I C AT I O N
an improved major street system, expanded retail developmnet, greater con-
sensus about community direction, improved community appearance and
design standards, greater community involvement, and better public safety
services emerged as the top priorties for this sample. On the other hand,
growth related issues – including both residential and industrial development
– received the lowest ratings. The rank of potential priorities with aggregated
scores follows:

1. Improved park and recreational facilities and programs (3.94)
2. Improved major street system (3.73)
3. Expanded retail development (3.66)
3. More agreement about community direction (3.66)
5. Improved community appearance and design standards (3.64)
6. More citizen involvement (3.62)
7. Better police and fire services (3.56)
8. More stable government structure (3.54)
9. Revitalization and enhancement of Fort Crook Road (3.53)
10. Better public transportation (3.48)
11. Riverfront development (3.46)
12. Trail and greenway development (3.41)
13. Improved access to health care (3.40)
14. Elementary school construction and upgrades (3.38)
15. Secondary school construction and upgrades (3.38)
16. Recreational use of Papio Creek floodplains (3.34)
17. Revitalization of Olde Towne (3.31)
18. Improved sewer systems (3.29)
19. Better local street circulation (3.25)
20. More industrial development (2.86)
21. More housing development (2.54)

In unprompted responses, the following specific priorities received the most
written priorities. The number of responses (out of a total of 432 returned
surveys) are displayed below:

•   Expand and improve park and recreation programs (73)
•   Retail expansion, including shopping mall development (62)
•   Expand and maintain the street system and traffic flow (53)
•   Develop a community recreation center or YMCA (48)
•   Revitalize Olde Towne (35)
•   Develop the riverfront (31)
•   Attract more business and industry (29)
•   Attract or open more sit-down restaurants (27)
•   Lower taxes (24)
•   Construct, upgrade, and maintain schools (24)
•   Increase efficiency or reduce size of City Council 924)
•   Improve public transportation (21)
•   Improve the appearance of the community (19)
•   Initiate a full-time, paid fire department (19)
•   Provide for slower, more moderate population growth and development
    (18)
•   Increase community involvement (16)
•   Increase housing development (13)
                                                                                                          11
I S S U E I D E N T I F C AT I O N
                            •   Revitalize Fort Crook Road (13)
                            •   Create more jobs (13)
                            •   Improve local health care access (12)
                            •   Develop new library services (12)
                            •   Improve the sewer system (11)
                            •   Create a vision of the future (11)




12
                                            I S S U E I D E N T I F I C AT I O N
This information, along with other responses and impressions gathered dur-
ing the issue identification process, led to the organization of the Bellevue
Future Advisory Comittee into five broad strategic issue areas. These working
groups included:

FRAMEWORK OF THE COMMUNITY. This committee’s scope included:
• Community growth concepts.
• Major structural systems, including transportation, parks and infrastruc-
   ture.
• Communtiy image and identity.
• Sense of community.
• Design and appearance of Bellevue.
• Bellevue’s regulatory framework, including the relationships between de-
   velopers, government, and the community at large.

SERVICES TO PEOPLE. This committee’s area of interest included:
• Library services
• Recreational facilities.
• Youth activities.
• Park and recreation systems.
• Trails and pedestrian systems
• Public transportation.
• Senior services.

SPECIAL PLACES. This committee’s subjects included:
• The role and redevelopment of Olde Towne.
• Fort Crook Road corridor.
• Bellevue’s neighborhoods.
• Community entrances and gateways.
• Major transportation corridors.
• Special events and the process of making Bellevue fun.
• Community marketing.

BUSINESS AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT. This scope included:
• Retail development.
• Proper balancing of industrial and commercial development.
• Workforce quality and developemnt.
• Business infrastructure and business/industrial park siting
• Overall growth objectives and priorities.
• Retention and growth of high paying jobs.
• Entrepreneurial activity.

PUBLIC AND PRIVATE LEADERSHIP. This committee’s work included:
• Structure, perspective, and nature of city government.
• Public and private community vision.
• Public relations between governemnt and constituents.
• Community leadership development.
• Private sector philantrophy and involvement.
• Partnerships and working relationships among community interests.

The work of these committees forms the basis for the following section of the
Bellevue Future Plan, STRATEGIC ISSUES.
                                                                             13
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Bellevue Future




  S T R AT E G I C I S S U E S




                                 15
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                                                       FRAMEWORK OF BELLEVUE



                   Bellevue Future
THE FRAMEWORK OF BELLEVUE




          B
                 ellevue began its life in the middle nineteenth century as a compact,
                 small community nestled near the Missouri River. According to the
                 projections of the Nebraska Bureau of Business Research, it will reach
          its bicentennial as an urban place with a population of about 100,000 people.
          In 2000, Bellevue’s population of about 45,000 was distributed over an area of
          – square miles. Yet, one of the city’s fundamental physical development is-
          sues is that while the city has grown in population and area, it lacks a unifying
          framework that links its neighborhoods and resources together. There are
          many reasons for this urban phenomenon, including:

          •   Development patterns related to different primary centers. Some of Bellevue’s
              neighborhoods grew as a natural extension of the original town; other
              areas grew along the historic Bellevue Boulevard link between South Omaha
              and Bellevue; and major commercial development occurred along the Fort
              Crook Road corridor on the western edge of this original urban area. The
              Galvin Road corridor also emerged as a significant commercial corridor,
              linking Fort Crook Road with the traditional center of the town. This
              created a relatively unified pattern of development.

              However, Bellevue also has incorporated growth related to other centers.
              Neighborhoods that developed south of Harrison Street have a strong,
              contiguous relationship to Omaha. Yet, because Omaha cannot annex
              across county lines, Bellevue logically incorporated these previously unin-
              corporated areas. More contemporary developments have occurred in the
              southwest sector as well, growing from Offutt Air Force Base and Capehart.
              These areas are all part of Bellevue, but have little adjacency to the tradi-
              tional city.

          •   The Papillion Creek Floodplain. The West and Big Papio Creeks join east of
              36th Street between Highway 370 and Cornhusker Road, and continue
              southeasterly to their confluence with the Missouri River just north of the
              Platte. The broad downstream floodplain and floodway creates a very
              large open area that is mostly farmed but is contained within the city. This
              large, undeveloped area separates Bellevue’s primary development cen-
              ters.

          •   Offutt Air Force Base. Offutt has historically been a critical part of Bellevue’s
              growth. However, from a geographic perspective, the base’s large area
              and approach zone reinforce significant physical barriers between the city’s
              principal residential areas.



                                                                                            17
FRAMEWORK OF BELLEVUE
               •   Railroads and Land Use Patterns. Floodplains are logical locations for rail-
                   roads, and the Union Pacific, Missouri Pacific, and Burlington Railroads
                   all had major routes crossing Bellevue. Two mainlines remain – the Union
                   Pacific (former Missouri Pacific) between Omaha and Kansas City; and
                   the Burlington Northern and Santa Fe between Omaha and Chicago via
                   the Plattsmouth bridge. While not major barriers by themselves, the UP
                   route, paralleling Fort Crook Road, encouraged some heavy industrial de-
                   velopment that divided areas on either side of that major roadway.

               The result of these influences was the emergence of three large sub-
               communities, distinctly separated from one another:

               •   The “traditional town” and river bluff, including areas between Fort Crook
                   Road and the Missouri River.

               •   The northwest side, with growth that tended to grow south from Omaha
                   and incorporating areas west of fort Crook Road and north of the creek
                   floodplain.

               •   The southwest side, including areas that grew concentrically around
                   Capehart, and encompassing areas south and west of the creek floodplain.

               Major Issues of Community Structure
               Participants in the Bellevue Future planning process identified a variety of
               specific issues as they addressed the broad area of community structure. These
               issues involve both causes that contribute to geographic separations and effects
               of these divisions. Specific issue areas include:

                   •   Lack of Community Linkages
                   •   Sense of Community
                   •   Population Issues
                   •   Transportation Network
                   •   Infrastructure

               LACK OF COMMUNITY LINKAGES

               •   Bellevue has grown by accretion, resulting in a “crazy-quilt” character. To
                   some degree, this has been the result of growth generated by three diverse
                   growth generators – the traditional town, the south edge of Omaha, and
                   the Offutt/Capehart influence. The Sanitary and Improvement District
                   (SID) method of financing development, frequently used in Sarpy and
                   Douglas Counties, also tends to encourage fractionalization. SID’s establish
                   individual subdivisions as quasi-governmental agencies for the purpose
                   of issuing general obligation bonds for infrastructure. In doing this, they
                   tend to emphasize the individual identity of the District, rather than the
                   community identity of Bellevue.

                   Bellevue, in common with many other communities, also has not
                   established a clear framework of streets and open spaces that define growth
                   directions and link neighborhoods. In the nineteenth century, towns

18
                                                                       FRAMEWORK OF BELLEVUE
    frequently established “official maps” – plans that pre-defined the grid of
    streets, parks, and lots. Builders then built within the framework
    established by these maps. In contemporary development, the “official
    map” occurs at the subdivision rather than the community level. As a
    result, the connections between neighborhoods emerge only by chance.

•   Bellevue has multiple school systems, reducing its sense of mutual community
    identification. Schools are a powerful source of community identity. In
    many towns, they are the one system that everyone holds in common.
    On a larger scale, the University of Nebraska fills that function of common
    identification in our large and diverse state. But Bellevue’s area is included
    in four separate districts. While most of the city is within the Bellevue
    Public School District, major areas in the jurisdiction are included in the
    Omaha, Papillion/La Vista, and Springfield districts.

•   Bellevue lacks a clear center. This is a problem shared by suburban cities
    like Bellevue, which grew rapidly from a small historic core. The city’s
    traditional business district, centered at the crossroads of Franklin Street
    and Mission Avenue, is the town center of a community of about 2,000
    people. As such, it became the home of city government and commercial
    development associated with a small town. Yet, as Bellevue grew and
    decentralized, the traditional town center was neither in the right location
    nor expandable to meet the commercial and office space needs of a
    growing, increasingly auto-oriented city. Only a few comprehensively
    planned cities (such as Reston, Virginia or Bellevue’s namesake, Bellevue,
    Washington) pre-defined new business centers or “downtown” districts
    sized appropriately to meet the demands of a larger place. Therefore, the
    services, retail facilities, and other offices needed to serve Bellevue’s
    burgeoning population grew opportunistically along major corridors –
    first, Fort Crook Road, then Galvin Road, Harvel Drive, and later
    Cornhusker Road and Highway 370. Thus, Bellevue grew in a linear rather
    than nodal pattern; this, combined with the geographic and physical
    separations that characterize the city’s jurisdiction, prevented a center from
    emerging.

    In some suburban or low-density settings, regional shopping malls and
    surrounding development form a community nucleus. However,
    Southroads, the regional shopping center developed in Bellevue during
    the 1960’s, responded to the market geography of that period. It was
    intended to serve the south sector of Omaha, previously served by the
    South Omaha Business District, and did not anticipate the emergence of
    Bellevue as a city of 50,000 that extended far to the south and west. As a
    result, Southroads’ location also prevented it from emerging as the center
    of a new city.

    The lack of a center has made it difficult for Bellevue to develop a strong
    image or identity. The effects of this are subtle but important, and affect
    a variety of community issues, ranging from identity to charitable
    contributions.



                                                                                          19
FRAMEWORK OF BELLEVUE
               SENSE OF COMMUNITY

               •   Residents of Bellevue have a high quality of individual life, reflected by homes,
                   individual activities, and life style. Bellevue is for the most part a middle-
                   class city, with a high degree of homeownership, low unemployment,
                   and a high average household income. The variation around the average
                   income – what statisticians refer to as the “standard deviation” – is relatively
                   small, meaning that Bellevue does not have large numbers of either very
                   wealthy nor very poor people. The city has an excellent school system
                   and a range of available commercial and entertainment services in the
                   larger area. Its housing stock is good and much of it is relatively new.
                   Citizens of Bellevue are by and large comfortable with the quality of their
                   individual physical lives. Yet. . .

               •   Community life in Bellevue has never really emerged. Participants in the
                   Future Bellevue planning process frequently said that “people are happy
                   and comfortable, but have no sense of community.” Because the unit of
                   development in Bellevue has typically been the subdivision; subdivisions
                   are rarely linked to one another; and the city has no clearly identified
                   central feature or district, residents view the city experience from the
                   perspective of their individual and family lives, rather than from a shared
                   perspective as members of the community.

                   One might ask why this is a problem. In some ways, it isn’t. The city
                   provides basic services, the often invisible systems that are necessary to
                   support a satisfactory family life in a good neighborhood. Yet, community
                   allegiance fosters community investment and private contributions to
                   important features and projects. Witness the huge investments, often
                   through private philanthropy, made in Downtown Omaha and its
                   riverfront, the city’s streetscape, and important institutions such as the
                   Zoo, Joslyn Art Museum, the Durham Western Heritage Museum, the
                   Omaha Convention Center, and many other projects. At the root of these
                   investments is an allegiance to a community and a drive and vision to
                   make that community pre-eminent. Whether Omaha, Des Moines,
                   Indianapolis, or Bellevue, these kinds of efforts at their base require
                   community identification and pride. In addition, community identification
                   produces the volunteers, along with the commitment of time, resources,
                   and creativity, necessary to power the institutions of the city.

               POPULATION ISSUES

               •   Bellevue has a relatively transient population, with members of the military
                   exercising a significant influence in the city. Bellevue has grown rapidly
                   since World War II; growth that has accelerated through the last decade.
                   Between 1990 and 2000, Bellevue experienced an annual growth rate of
                   about 3.7%. Almost 50% of the city’s population in 2000 did not live in
                   Bellevue in 1990. This large percentage of people who are new to the city,
                   unequalled elsewhere in the metropolitan area, creates both an unusual
                   challenge and a tremendous opportunity. Yet, without the structure of a
                   surrounding city, new residents become both focused on their household
                   lives and relatively disengaged from overall city issues.

20
                                                                     FRAMEWORK OF BELLEVUE
    Participants in the Bellevue Future planning process cited the city’s large
    military population as an important demographic factor. The base-related
    population of the city is a major resource, lending a quality of diversity,
    experience, and maturity that is very important. On the other hand, the
    military population has a focus of attention and institutional framework
    that is separate from that of the City of Bellevue.

•   Bellevue is frequently viewed as a “bedroom” city for Omaha. As a result,
    many residents, drawn to developments in Bellevue by good housing,
    nearby services, and a good school system, still relate to Omaha as their
    primary point of orientation. The relative lack of physical structure and
    civic facilities reinforces this perception. Indeed, some of Bellevue’s
    neighborhoods are more defined from one another than they are from
    the City of Omaha. While a regional identification is an important value,
    the suburbanization of Bellevue as a commuting territory also tends to
    reduce community identification.

TRANSPORTATION NETWORK

•   Bellevue’s street network is fragmented and lacks continuity. The street and
    transportation network is one of the primary components of a city’s
    framework and urban form. Street continuity also keeps various parts of
    a city connected to one another, and, in some cases, act as community
    corridors that become activity centers and unify the community. Yet,
    with the possible exception of the old town’s grid and some neighborhoods
    adjacent to the Douglas County line that extended the South Omaha grid
    between Harrison Street and Chandler Road, Bellevue’s street system is
    relatively fragmented.

    Bellevue was originally by its two principal highways, north-south Fort
    Crook Road (Highway 75) and east-west Mission Avenue (Highway 370).
    Diagonal or irregular routes, such Galvin Road through a valley and
    Bellevue Boulevard along the ridge line of the river bluffs, connected the
    main north-south highway to the center of the traditional town. As the
    city has grown, the primary street continuity is provided by section line
    roads – Cornhusker Road, Highway 370, Capehart Road, Fairview Road,
    and Platteview Road in an east-west direction and Fort Crook Road, 36th
    Street, and 48th Street. Most recent neighborhoods are self-contained pods
    that connect to this major street grid, but not to one another. As a result,
    moving from one residential area to another requires the traveler to exit
    neighborhoods and use the section-line system.

•   The Kennedy Freeway has had a major impact on regional transportation and
    growth. The Freeway has been a major for mobility and development in
    Bellevue and Cass County. On opening, it also diverted a number of trips
    that had previously used Fort Crook Road. By 2001, the Kennedy is at or
    over capacity, and is experiences difficulties at peak periods or when an
    accident constricts traffic flow. Plans are already being prepared to widen
    the highway to three lanes in both directions.



                                                                                        21
FRAMEWORK OF BELLEVUE
                   The Kennedy has also had a significant impact on land use patterns. Because
                   the Highway 370 and Capehart interchanges are in floodplains, the greatest
                   development activity has occurred at Cornhusker Road. This has reinforced
                   the tendency of Cornhusker and Harvel Drive from 25th Street to Galvin
                   Road to supplant Fort Crook Road as Bellevue’s principal commercial
                   corridor.

               •   The new Missouri River Bridge may add a significant new element to Bellevue’s
                   framework. According to current plans, the existing Highway 34 crossing
                   at Plattsmouth will be replaced by two new bridges. The primary highway
                   crossing will connect with the current alignment of the highway in Iowa
                   and will interchange with Highway 75 north of the Platte River. Longer-
                   term plans may include a cross-county arterial roughly on alignment with
                   Platteview Road. This new bridge will provide excellent access to areas
                   south of Bellevue (including the former Arcadia chemical plant) that the
                   city has long, and unsuccessfully, promoted for industrial development.
                   Most areas along the Platteview corridor are beyond the urban service
                   areas of Bellevue and Papillion.

               •   Public transportation service is limited and not entirely appropriate to the
                   people who need it. Metro Area Transit provides bus service on a contract
                   basis to the City of Bellevue. This service currently includes a circulator
                   route (Route 50) that runs along a loop linking Southroads, Bellevue
                   University, and Old Town. MAT has also operated peak-hour express
                   services from Omaha to Offutt AFB and from Bellevue to Downtown
                   Omaha. All of these routes suffer from low ridership, largely because
                   service is infrequent and because the routes do not respond well to the
                   mobility needs of a low-density, dispersed city with a relatively young
                   population and high degree of auto use and ownership. These demands
                   include flexible transportation for transit-dependent people such as
                   children and seniors; and the potential need for a high quality commuter
                   service to concentrated employment centers in the center of Omaha that
                   has a real time and comfort advantage over auto commuting.

               INFRASTRUCTURE

               •   Bellevue has gaps in sewer service. Some areas of Bellevue lack sanitary
                   sewer coverage, or were developed without sewers and incorporated into
                   the city.

               •   The city’s current plans do not specifically identify growth directions and pair
                   those with necessary public improvements. Growth planning is a strategic
                   process because of the ability of urban infrastructure such as interceptor
                   sewers to define and direct growth. In the metropolitan area, Omaha
                   established and has implemented a strategic program of gradual interceptor
                   extensions, to support growth within specific drainage sheds. This policy
                   has been generally successful in assuring contiguous, if decentralized,
                   growth. Bellevue through a comprehensive planning process should define
                   a vision of community growth and identify the strategic infrastructure
                   extensions necessary to support that vision.


22
                                                                       FRAMEWORK OF BELLEVUE

Strategies and Directions
Participants in the Bellevue Future planning process identified the following
as possible strategies to address the issues of Community Framework.

Defining a City Center. Bellevue, within its geographic constraints should
identify a city center that is viewed as common territory. A city center may
include public and private components to combine commercial and civic
life, such as a police station and library. A community center may be
incorporated into the project, including services for families, seniors, kids,
and singles. The city center may be a campus of public buildings, following
a model established by many towns in Finland. The developing Lifelong
Learning Center at Highway 370 and Fort Crook Road may develop as such a
center.

Developing a niche for Old Town. Old Town remains a place of perceived
importance for many residents of Bellevue, even though the district does not
function as a center for most of the city. The downtown of the traditional
town of Bellevue should identify a niche that makes sense, given its context.
This niche, however, will not be as the center of the contemporary city.

Creating transportation connections. Transportation is critical to connecting
Bellevue’s relatively disparate parts. The city should develop and maintain a
connected network of accessible, well-maintained roads. Access (the ability
for all people to get to a wide variety of places) should be a key community
value and should be the standard by which we evaluate the success of a
transportation system. Transportation planning and development should be
balanced, and should recognize the roles of modes other than the automobile.
Consistent with the criterion of providing access to features of the city, Bellevue
should have improved bus service, appropriate to its specific needs, such as
services designed to meet the needs of children and seniors.

Increasing residents’ involvement and identification of common goals.
Bellevue should increase the participation of residents in public life. The city
should foster a sense of belonging and responsibility on a community as well
as an individual or subdivision level. Bellevue should create avenues for greater
involvement in civic life. The city should also improve communications to
keep residents informed and involved.

Improving the city’s design and appearance. The design of a city can
influence community pride and identification. This process starts with the
entrances to the city, which establish a physical definition and image of the
place. City ordinances and design standards should improve the quality of
private development, including signs and architectural design. The city’s
physical environment should help define an image of quality and desirability.

Increasing the effectiveness of comprehensive development planning.
Bellevue should clearly identify its future structure and pre-plan for a
community that could reach a population of 100,000 within 40 years. Zoning
in Bellevue should encourage good development, establishing predictable and
feasible design standards while removing arbitrary obstacles and

                                                                                          23
FRAMEWORK OF BELLEVUE
               inconsistences. The city’s comprehensive plan offer real guidance for
               community growth and provide the framework for a variety of private and
               public decisions and actions. The city should implement previously developed
               plans, notably its parks and trails plan.

               Developing an image and theme for the city distinct from Omaha. Many
               see Bellevue as an amorphous Omaha suburb, both affecting the community
               and reducing private and foundation support for its own key civic projects.
               Bellevue should develop an identification or image distinct from Omaha.
               This community image (or “brand”) can be effectively based on its specific
               attributes. Image components include:

                  •   Community history. Bellevue is Nebraska’s oldest continuous settlement
                      and its associations with the fur trade, Native American history, pioneer
                      settlement, and early community life in the state represent very
                      important themes.
                  •   The “forest,” incorporating Fontenelle Forest and the wooded bluffs
                      overlooking the Missouri. Fontenelle Forest, viewed in the
                      metropolitan area as a unique facility, is the one Bellevue facility that
                      has received a high level of charitable support from Omaha
                      metropolitan area donors.
                  •   The “prairie,” using the broad floodplain and clear zone expanses that
                      now separate the city but could be developed into a unifying element.
                  •   The “military,” recognizing the importance of Offutt Air Force Base to
                      the city and its history.

               These themes may be incorporated into a community trademark. The current
               effort to brand Bellevue is an excellent start in the image-building and branding
               process.




24
                                                                     S E RV I C E S T O P E O P L E



                          Bellevue Future
S E RV I C E S T O P E O P L E




                  I
                     n some ways, a city bonds people together in a community of interest to
                     pool resources and provide services that citizens need but cannot provide
                     fully or responsibly on a individual basis. Thus, utilities and infrastructure
                  are provided in common – an individual household can build its own driveway,
                  but it must connect to a network that falls beyond the capabilities of any
                  individual to provide. Other services, including public safety, schools, libraries,
                  and parks and recreation also fall within this range of community
                  responsibilities.

                  Nationally, cities such as Bellevue, that have grown rapidly during the last
                  half of the twentieth century, face challenges as they struggle to upgrade
                  facilities and services. New residents expect a high level of services from a
                  municipality that has until recently thought of itself as a small town. Some
                  overall dynamics that affect service planning in Bellevue include the following:

                  •   Community growth and comparisons to Omaha. Bellevue, in 1950 a town of
                      about 2,000 people, now is a city of 45,000. In ten years, it will join Omaha
                      and Lincoln as Nebraska’s only entitlement cities under the Community
                      Development Block Grant program. With this growth, much of which
                      involves people who have moved from Omaha or other cities, comes an
                      expectation of a high level of city services. Omaha has had a longer history
                      as a large city than Bellevue and has over the years evolved a pattern of
                      city services, including an extensive park system, branch libraries, and
                      neighborhood recreation centers. Bellevue’s adjacency to Omaha invites
                      residents to compare their service systems with those of their larger
                      neighbor.

                  •   Physical dispersion. Bellevue’s decentralized development pattern and the
                      forces that created it were discussed in the Community Framework section.
                      This geographic dispersion creates significant service challenges. When
                      we consider how well a city is served by facilities, we must evaluate the
                      number and quality of facilities, and access to them. For example, a
                      geographic barrier that separates a population from a major facility
                      discourages access and reduces the level of service offered. Thus, a library
                      in the eastern part of Bellevue is relatively inaccessible to a resident of a
                      new development in the southwest.

                  •   Changing and diversifying population. Bellevue’s population is slowly but
                      gradually aging and becoming more diverse, creating new service
                      demands. In 1990, 6.9% of the population was over age 65 ; in 2000, this
                      percentage has grown to 9.5%. Perhaps more significantly, with population
                      growth, the number of Bellevue citizens over age 65 has doubled, from
                                                                                                   25
S E RV I C E S T O P E O P L E
                                 2,155 in 1990 to 4,248 in 2000. Ethnic minorities among Bellevue’s
                                 population have also grown moderately; Latinos made up 3.9% of the
                                 city’s population (or 1,212 people) in 1990, and 5.9% (or 2,609 people) in
                                 2000.

                           •     Continuing attraction to young families. Many communities, including older
                                 suburbs, experience an “aging in place” phenomenon. In this situation,
                                 people who have settled in the city stay in the city, resulting in an older
                                 population and a declining number of children. Bellevue, on the other
                                 hand, continues to be a magnet for young families. In 1990, 33.9% of the
                                 population were adults in the 25 to 44 age cohort – prime time for family
                                 formation. In 2000, this proportion has declined slightly, but still remains
                                 at 31%. Perhaps more significantly in a growing city, the total population
                                 in that age group has increased significantly, from about 10,500 in 1990 to
                                 about 13,800 in 2000. Similarly, the number of children under age 14 has
                                 increased from about 7,300 in 1990 to about 10,000 in 2000.

                           As Bellevue continues to grow, the service demands and expectations placed
                           on the city by its residents also are likely to grow. In a very real way, the
                           nature of the community and the services that it offers are determined by the
                           willingness of residents to pay for services and facilities, and the ability of the
                           community to assemble additional funds for project development.

                           SENIOR SERVICES

                           •     Bellevue’s senior population is growing. The number of people in Bellevue
                                 over age 65 has doubled during the last ten years. Because the city
                                 successfully retains a large share of its adult population, this population
                                 growth is likely to continue in the near-term future. However, the
                                 demographics of Bellevue indicate that its greatest increase in senior
                                 population (and probable demand for senior services) will come in ten to
                                 twenty years.

                           •     Bellevue has a relatively extensive network of services to seniors in need. Bellevue’s
                                 current population of older adults is relatively affluent in relative terms;
                                 for example, the median annual household income for people between
                                 ages 65 and 74 is about $40,000, dropping off to about $30,000 for people
                                 over age 80. However, seniors have relatively low incomes, compared
                                 with the estimated citywide median household income of $55,000. The
                                 community maintains an array of programs to serve the needs of people
                                 in need.

                           •     Bellevue has not experienced a high level of housing development for older adults.
                                 The Omaha metropolitan area has experienced a significant recent level
                                 of housing development for seniors. These have included continuing care
                                 retirement communities such as the Immanuel Lakeside and Pacific Springs
                                 developments in West Omaha; assisted living projects; and a growing
                                 number of independent living settings with property maintenance
                                 provided. These housing types are likely to increase in importance.



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                                                                                   S E RV I C E S T O P E O P L E
•   Bellevue’s transportation system provides mobility for cars, but relatively
    limited access for people without them. The geographic decentralization of
    Bellevue hampers the ability of older adults to get to important community
    features and services. The city’s limited existing bus service does not
    address the problem of providing people increasingly reluctant to drive
    with a practical alternative.

LIBRARY SERVICES

•   Bellevue does not offer library services in the west part of the city. The current
    facility at 1003 Lincoln Road is very well located to serve the city east of
    Fort Crook Road, including the traditional town and adjacent development.
    However, the geographical barriers that affect the framework and unity of
    the city also limits access from many parts of Bellevue. Much of the
    northwestern part of Bellevue, adjacent to the county line, will be closer
    to the proposed joint City of Omaha/Metro Community College facility at
    the Stockyards Business Park in Omaha. Southwestern neighborhoods
    will be remote from any city library services. The city’s 1991 plan cites a
    proposal, to date unrealized, to develop a west branch library.

•   Library services and facilities must keep up with evolving technology and facility
    standards. The business of developing and operating libraries has changed
    significantly during the last ten years, as traditional concepts of a quiet
    retreat lined with books have faded. Libraries have become wired as
    gateways for electronic information and have begun to follow trends set
    by private booksellers to become social as well as information and study
    centers. Programming for children and families have also become
    increasingly important. Bellevue’s library services must keep up with
    trends to remain relevant and to expand their use to and by the community.

PARKS AND RECREATION

•   Parks and green space are a vital community-wide need. Bellevue, with its
    wide variety of age groups, needs a quality park and recreation system.
    Indeed, park development has been high on the community agenda for
    several years. This concern resulted in the completion of a Master Plan
    for the Bellevue Park System, prepared in 1995 by Ciaccio Dennell Group
    and renaissance Design Group. A key premise of this plan, and the
    community participation process that helped produce it, was that Bellevue’s
    park system needed to grow along with the community. Only in this way
    could the city provide an equitable level of service to all its residents.

•   The current park system in Bellevue does not provide equivalent levels of service
    to all parts of the city. Most of Bellevue’s existing park area is concentrated
    in the eastern part of the city, east of Fort Crook Road. Yet these areas are
    divided from the northwestern and southwestern segments of the city by
    the Kennedy Freeway/Fort Crook corridors and the floodplain and clear
    zone. The Parks Master Plan indicated that the northwestern sector of the
    city had substantial residential areas outside the service areas of existing
    parks; and that the southwestern sector had the smallest per capita park
    area of any part of the city. Thus, the “traditional” community has a

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S E RV I C E S T O P E O P L E
                                 statistical surplus of parkland; while developing areas have substantial
                                 deficits of parkland and many geographic gaps in service.

                           •     Bellevue lacks large community parks, especially in the western part of the city.
                                 Community parks, generally ranging from 10 to 50 acres (and frequently
                                 larger) in size, are often the backbone of a city’s park system. These are
                                 the city’s signature parks, the facilities that provide places for the
                                 recreational experiences and memories of a city. Haworth Park is such a
                                 park for Bellevue. Yet, Haworth is relatively remote from other parts of
                                 the city, which lack their own community facilities. In the northwest area,
                                 Aspen Park has some ability to serve as a community park, but is not
                                 developed to those multi-purpose standards. In the southwest, parks are
                                 generally small SID facilities that also do not provide the multiple functions
                                 expected of a community park.

                           •     Bellevue has large open spaces that are undeveloped or do not meet their full
                                 recreational potential. In some ways, Bellevue suffers from an over-
                                 abundance of open space, but an undersupply of functioning parks. Aspen
                                 Park, Cedar Island Park, and Jewell Park are all large public spaces on
                                 paper that, in reality, do not function successfully as recreational resources.
                                 The large areas of enforced open space preserve – the Papio floodplain
                                 and the Offutt clear zone – similarly provide limited recreational use,
                                 although they do accommodate the Keystone and Bellevue Loop Trails,
                                 the regions premier multi-use recreational trails. Safety restrictions on
                                 the clear zone do not permit large concentrations of people in any one
                                 place and limit some types of recreational development. Nevertheless,
                                 Bellevue’s park system can convert these open space opportunities into
                                 major recreational resources for the entire region.

                           •     Bellevue lacks a multi-purpose indoor recreation or community center. Many
                                 communities in and out of the metropolitan area have identified indoor
                                 recreation and community centers as significant service needs. These
                                 centers frequently incorporate activities for people of all ages and
                                 capabilities. Other than school facilities that are often not available for
                                 informal use, Bellevue lacks a public recreation center or YMCA. The
                                 Sarpy County YMCA is located at 72nd Street and 1st Street in Papillion, but
                                 is relatively inaccessible to many of the city’s residents.

                           •     The river is a major potential recreational and image resource for Bellevue. The
                                 Back to the River program has created renewed regional interest in
                                 riverfront development. While this program has focused on the Omaha
                                 riverfront, with its initial segment extending from Downtown to NP Dodge
                                 Park, the scope of the potential project extends north to Blair and south to
                                 Nebraska City. In Bellevue, the availability of the unused Kramer power
                                 plant site, the routing of the Back to the River Trail, and the utilization
                                 and character of the Haworth Park Marina have all raised considerable
                                 community discussion. But Bellevue Future participants believe that the
                                 Riverfront development should be part of a growing recreation system.

                           •     Trails have become significant parts of the city’s recreational and even transportation
                                 systems. The Keystone and Bellevue Loop Trails are the metropolitan area’s

28
                                                                                       S E RV I C E S T O P E O P L E
    longest and most heavily used facilties, providing over 30 miles of
    continuous, paved, grade-separated trail from 90th and Fort in Northwest
    Omaha to Haworth Park. Links to Aspen Park and the Copper Creek
    subdivision tie this major trail into northwest Bellevue residential
    neighborhoods. This system will continue to be strengthened by the
    extension of the West Papio Trail to Papillion, Zorinsky Lake, and West
    Omaha, and by other planned connecting trails in Bellevue. Trail use has
    become a major value in Bellevue, and access to trails is an important
    marketing feature in contemporary residential development.

PUBLIC SAFETY

•   Public safety and the assurance of security will continue to be important city
    issues. Bellevue has made considerable public investments in its public
    safety services, including its police and volunteer fire departments. It is
    clear in the wake of the events of September 11, 2001 that public security
    will continue to be a high priority for Bellevue and virtually every other
    community in the nation. A continued challenge will be the relative
    allocation of resources to public safety services and other community
    programs and services.

EDUCATION

•   Parts of the city of Bellevue are included in four school districts. Ideally, the
    corporate limits of a city and school district jurisdictions should be
    relatively coincident. This allows the greatest degree of joint planning
    and programming for a common future. Unfortunately, this is not the
    case in Bellevue, where the jurisdiction is divided into four separate
    districts. Bellevue Public Schools makes up the majority of the developed
    part of Bellevue. However, the areas north of Cornhusker Road west of
    25th Street and Childs Road east of 25th Street are included in the Omaha
    Public School district. A significant part of Bellevue’s Highway 370 growth
    corridor west of 29th Street is in the Papillion-LaVista district, while much
    of the area south of Schneekloth Road and west of 36th Street is in the
    Springfield district. This “balkanization” of Bellevue’s school population
    discourages community identification. More significantly, though, many
    of Bellevue’s most probable growth areas are outside of the Bellevue Public
    School District. This provides the city with substantial service challenges
    and raises questions about the construction of future school facilities to
    keep up with population growth.

TRANSPORTATION

•   Bellevue lacks appropriate public transportation service. Access to community
    service facilities is in itself a critical service. These facilities often serve people
    who rely on others for transportation – including seniors and children.
    An appropriate transportation system can provide a measure of
    independence and flexibility that is appreciated by all. Yet, Bellevue’s
    local and commuter transit services do not successfully serve these user
    groups.


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S E RV I C E S T O P E O P L E
                           •     Sidewalks and pedestrian access should be viewed as a part of a transportation
                                 network. A pedestrian city provides safety and access to an increasing
                                 number of users, including recreational walkers and runners, children,
                                 families, and short trips around a neighborhood or to a park. Yet, Bellevue
                                 lacks a continuous and comprehensive sidewalk network. In addition,
                                 the relatively poor connectivity of the city’s street system and lack of
                                 internal access between residential and commercial areas forces pedestrians
                                 to contend with traffic on major arterials.

                           HOUSING QUALITY

                           •     As some of Bellevue’s neighborhoods age, housing rehabilitation begins
                                 to surface as a need. People born after World War II think of both
                                 themselves and houses of the same age as relatively “young.”
                                 Unfortunately, both are aging together and experience an increasing need
                                 for maintenance. With this inevitable process, Bellevue must begin to
                                 consider rehabilitation and reinvestment programs in its existing housing
                                 stock, much of which is affordable and provides new residents with an
                                 entry into the city’s life.




30
                                                                               S E RV I C E S T O P E O P L E

Strategies and Directions
Participants in the Bellevue Future planning process identified the following
as possible strategies to address the issues related to Services to People.

Developing a Community/City Center. Bellevue should develop a multi-use
recreation center. The Lifelong Learning Center, under development at Fort
Crook Road and Highway 370, begins to address the issue of central
community facilities; however, the Center will not include recreational features,
identified throughout the issue identification process as a key community
need. The facility should provide territories for different types of users (such
as seniors and youth). The process by which this project is planned can be
important in determining its success. A directed, step-by-step program to
develop the community center includes the following elements:

   •   Selecting and acquiring a site that meets criteria generally accepted by
       the community.
   •   Defining the program of services and facilities to be offered.
   •   Using the facility concept to both streamline and improve existing
       services
   •   Potentially incorporating the new center as a “centralized hub for
       information and services.”
   •   Establishing the governance structure for the center.
   •   Completing the project within a 6 to 8-year timeframe.

In addition, a YMCA should be developed within Bellevue.

Developing a west branch library and technology center. Bellevue should
develop a western location for a library/technology center to serve parts of
the city that are currently without local library services. Library expansion
will be particularly significant as the city grows. Bellevue’s Public Library
should be a first class facility with branches and outreach.

Creating a comprehensive park and recreation system. Despite Bellevue’s
abundant open space, its unequal distribution of parks, lack of indoor public
recreation, and major park facility needs caused many participants to place a
high priority on park development. Bellevue should implement a
comprehensive park development program that includes:

   •   A method of financing the purchase of necessary land for both
       community and neighborhood parks.
   •   Allocating services and facilities based on a parks master plan.
   •   Rehabilitating existing parks
   •   Developing an interconnected trail network, linking all existing and
       proposed segments into a unified system Trails can be developed in
       ways that also provide small business opportunities. They should be
       viewed as an integrated community development tool, as well as a
       recreational facility.
   •   Utilizing the Kramer Plant site as a park/recreation facility, as part of a
       riverfront park
   •   Incorporating the historical significance of the trails.
                                                                                                           31
S E RV I C E S T O P E O P L E
                                 •   Improving park maintenance, also taking advantage of private
                                     participation through adopt-a-park program.
                                 •   Creating special activity sites, such as a skateboard facility
                                 •   Updating equipment and facilities.
                                 •   Using community history and culture as an image characteristic.

                           Applying “smart growth” principles to development in Bellevue.
                           Decentralized development can be expensive because it stretches city services
                           out over more territory. Therefore, smart growth principles which encourage
                           orderly development can have important service implications, either allowing
                           Bellevue to upgrade services for the same cost, or permitting the city to offer
                           current levels of service at reduced expense. Smart growth principles also
                           involve improving the scale and appearance of the city through improved
                           standards for landscape and architectural design.

                           Improving access to services by diversifying the transportation system.
                           Bellevue should develop improved public transportation facilities, providing
                           services designed for the most likely users. These include senior services and
                           services to disabled people. Public transportation may also have a role to
                           play in the traditional commuter market, as evidenced by the increasing
                           congestion of the Kennedy Freeway into Omaha. However, for transit to work,
                           it must offer real advantages over the private automobile. Bellevue should
                           also develop a pedestrian and sidewalk network that offers access to all areas.
                           Assessment districts should be utilized to finance sidewalks.

                           Taking strategic steps to maintain and expand the city’s housing stock in
                           specific areas. Potential market gaps include affordable housing development
                           and additional senior housing. Bellevue should also identify signs of early
                           neighborhood deterioration and develop a rehabilitation program designed
                           to address these problems.

                           Maintaining high educational quality and developing facilities as growth
                           continues. The city may investigate the possibility of district boundary changes
                           to help rationalize the school district system. Economic issues can make this
                           very difficult, as districts are reluctant to part voluntarily with areas that have
                           high development potential.




32
                                                                     SPECIAL PLACES



                   Bellevue Future
SPECIAL PLACES




           A
                    city’s special places are its signature features – the visual images that
                   leap to mind when people think of the community. But beyond
                   physical attractiveness, special places provide stages for activity. The
           renowned landscape architect and urban designer Lawrence Halprin talked
           about places as “scores” for activity, using the analogy of printed music that
           comes to life when performed by an orchestra. These places define the image
           of a city and often are the backdrop for experience and memory. At their
           best, they are magical places that have great emotional and figurative power.

           Everyone has their own list of special urban places. They might include grand
           spaces like Central Park in New York City, busy places like Fisherman’s Wharf
           in San Francisco, or neighborhoods like the North End in Boston. Our
           metropolitan area also has its special places that act as stages for activity and
           image centers for the region. These include the Old Market, Gene Leahy Mall,
           Heartland Park, Elmwood Park, or even a special store or beautifully-scaled
           business district.

           Bellevue also has places of special places like Fontenelle Forest, Bellevue
           Boulevard, or Washington Park that provide wonderful settings, experiences,
           and urban sequences. Many people have expected Old Town to fill this role,
           but it has not coalesced as a lively commercial district. People in a community
           feel a strong need for community spaces of special distinction or meaning;
           but unfortunately, contemporary development all too infrequently produces
           them. This gap is keenly felt in Bellevue, where much of the built environment
           dates from the latter part of the twentieth century.

           Yet, some important trends are emerging in Bellevue’s environment that have
           the potential to generate special community space:

           •   The development of the Lifelong Learning Center on the northwest quadrant of
               Highway 370 and Fort Crook Road. This vital community project combines
               Bellevue Public School’s new adult learning center with a Bellevue welcome
               center and other facilities. The Fort Crook Road corridor is the seam
               between the established and new sections of Bellevue and this intersection
               is at the “center of gravity” of the city’s three large development sectors.
               Placing education at the center for the community transmits a powerful
               message.

           •   The emergence of the Twin Creeks area at 36th and Highway 370. Recent
               commercial development, including the Twin Creeks Cinma, has
               established this area as a community activity center. A commercial village
               with a pedestrian orientation is planned adjacent to the theaters, creating
                                                                                           33
SPECIAL PLACES
                     the beginning of a commercial and entertainment district. The Twin Creeks
                     area also has the first stage of a trail system that will eventually link to the
                     future West Papillion Trail.

                 •   The completion and great popularity of the Keystone Trail/Bellevue Loop trail
                     system. This is the southern component of the metropolitan area’s premier
                     trail, extending about 30 miles from Haworth Park to Northwest Omaha.
                     The regional West Papillion Trail, extending to Papillion’s town center
                     and Zorinsky Lake, will connect with the Keystone near Twin Creeks.

                 •   The future availability of the Wilson Concrete yard. This major industrial
                     installation northwest of Cornhusker and Fort Crook Roads is reportedly
                     relocating, opening a major site in a strategic location for distinctive
                     development.

                 •   The evolving Back to the River program. This program along with major
                     development projects along the Downtown Omaha Riverfront, has focused
                     attention on the Missouri River more strongly than at any other time since
                     1973. The availability of the Kramer power plant, discussion over riverfront
                     trail alternatives in Bellevue, and completion of the new Fontenelle Forest
                     visitors center are all elements of Bellevue’s share of the Missouri
                     Riverfront.

                 Issues/Opportunities
                 Participants in the Bellevue Future planning process identified a variety of
                 specific issues as they considered special community spaces. Specific issue
                 areas include:

                     •   Old Town
                     •   The Riverfront
                     •   Major Community Corridors: Fort Crook Road and Kennedy Freeway
                     •   City Entrances
                     •   Historical Places

                 OLD TOWN

                 •   Despite extensive organizational and a past public improvement program, Old
                     Town continues to struggle economically. Old Town has some notable assets,
                     such as the Bellevue Little Theater, and unique businesses. It is also the
                     focus of city government and includes an adjacent public school. Yet, the
                     district also has a high degree of vacancy and underused property. Some
                     of the district’s multi-tenant buildings have high vacancy rates and previous
                     specialty businesses have been replaced by more service-oriented
                     businesses and, in some cases, social services. While the Mission Avenue
                     corridor from Washington Street west to Lincoln Road successfully hosts
                     small scale businesses along a mixed use corridor, the central Old Town
                     district is a relatively weak economic entity.




34
                                                                                       SPECIAL PLACES
•   Old Town has not defined or marketed its role in the growing Bellevue
    community. Old Town developed as the town center for a small town, not
    a city of 45,000. Geographically, it is far from the center of Bellevue’s
    population, and has little relationship to the routine lives of most citizens
    of the city. Often, town center districts, even when they developed during
    a different era, have the most success when they are on routine routes
    frequently traveled by residents. Because Old Town is located off these
    routine routes, most Bellevue residents need a special reason to visit the
    area. Old Town remains important to many people who believe that the
    city needs a center, and that the traditional town center as an important
    role to play in Bellevue’s life. However, the district has failed to define this
    specific niche.

•   Old Town may be “misbranded.” Community branding has become a
    technique to direct town center marketing and development. Branding
    involved defining the attributes and expectations that users have of an
    area, and strengthening these into a coordinated development program.
    For example, Omaha’s Old Market has successfully and consistently
    pursued a certain package of attributes and experiences during its 35 year
    history, revolving around the concept of an historic retail market reinforced
    by the physical environment of brick buildings and streets, market
    canopies, flowers, and street life. But an inappropriate brand can be as
    damaging as an appropriate brand productive. In branding its traditional
    town center as “Old Town,” Bellevue raises certain expectations of historic
    character and scale. Yet, the physical district, with its low-scale, post World
    War II buildings and wide central streets, fails to meet these expectations.
    Bellevue became a member city under the Lied Nebraska Main Street
    Program, an effort that has a strong orientation toward historic
    preservation. However, the Main Street program and its sponsoring
    agency, the Bellevue Chamber of Commerce, encountered conflicts that
    resulted in the city’s withdrawal from the program. The “Old Town” brand
    is an appropriate image for the future of this district as it considers its
    future role.

THE MISSOURI RIVERFRONT

•   The riverfront represents a major unused opportunity. The regional Back to
    the River program has focused attention on the Bellevue riverfront. Most
    agree that the river corridor is an important opportunity for Bellevue that
    is not fully utilized. Much of the riverfront is in public or nonprofit
    community ownership, including Fontenelle Forest, the Gifford Farm, the
    NPPD/Kramer Plant property, and Haworth Park. Yet, public access to
    the river is relatively limited. The City and Chamber of Commerce have
    developed a reuse plan for the Kramer Plant. NPPD has offered this
    property to the city, but negotiations over responsibility for environmental
    clean-up at the site has been an obstacle.

•   Connections between various riverfront features – Fontenelle Forest, Haworth
    Park, the marina, the Kramer site – are both issues and opportunities. Urban
    design often involves the nature of linkages among various features on a
    site – how features work together as a collection of attraction. The nature

                                                                                                   35
SPECIAL PLACES
                     of these connections has been controversial along the Bellevue riverfront,
                     complicated by topography and ownership issues. The routing of the
                     Back to the River Trail, the spine that will connect the “jewels” of the
                     metropolitan area riverfront from Blair to Bellevue, exemplifies this
                     controversy. A route that follows the river appears on the surface to be
                     most desirable. But bluff lines prevent this route from connecting with
                     the probable trail routing coming out of Mandan Park in Omaha. In
                     addition, the river trail route competes with the busy Burlington Northern
                     and Santa Fe Railroad mainline in a narrow corridor on the northwest
                     edge of Fontenelle Forest; and opens an unsecured access to Fontenelle
                     Forest’s property. The official trail plan now follows Bellevue Boulevard
                     to the Hidden Hills area, and continues along Combs Road and Bluff Street
                     to the Kramer site and the Bellevue riverfront. However, residents along
                     Bellevue Boulevard, a primarily residential street, object to a ten-foot
                     concrete trail crossing their front yards.

                 •   Safety and security issues arise around public exposure and access to the river.
                     Related to the issue of connections are issues of public access to the river
                     and conflicts with property ownership, safety, and the balance between
                     preservation and development. Fontenelle Forest, a major community
                     resource, is nevertheless a preserve with access limited to members and
                     visitors who have paid an admission fee, rather than a public park. The
                     BNSF mainline runs parallel to and very close to the river. High-speed
                     train operations and curvatures that restrict visibility compound safety
                     conflicts between this busy railroad and public waterfront use. The city’s
                     wastewater treatment plant is located along the riverfront just north of the
                     Bellevue Bridge, creating another potential public access and security
                     problem. All of these issues make riverfront planning for Bellevue a
                     particular challenge.

                 MAJOR COMMUNITY CORRIDORS: FORT CROOK ROAD AND THE
                 KENNEDY FREEWAY

                 •   The role of Fort Crook Road has changed dramatically during the past five years.
                     Fort Crook Road has traditionally served as the main traffic artery between
                     Omaha and the south. During the 1940s, it was the great commercial and
                     industrial artery that served the Martin plant at Fort Crook, the facility
                     that built the Enola Gay and other B-29’s that helped our nation win World
                     War II. During the 1950s and 1960s, designated as US Highways 73 and
                     75, Fort Crook Road was the main commercial arterial to the south; became
                     the location of Southroads, one of the Brandeis Department Store’s master
                     plan of three major regional shopping centers serving the south, central,
                     and north parts of the metropolitan area; and, as a principal entrance to
                     the metropolitan area, was lined by motels, restaurants, and automotive
                     services. Because of its importance, Fort Crook Road became one of the
                     area’s first “expressways,” improved as a multi-lane, divided facility
                     between the Platte River and the junction of Railroad Avenue and 13th
                     Street just south of the Sarpy/Douglas county line. Also, because of the
                     parallel Missouri Pacific Railroad mainline to Nebraska City and Kansas
                     City, parts of the corridor’s west side took on an industrial character.


36
                                                                                     SPECIAL PLACES
    In 1997, the opening of the parallel Kennedy Freeway changed this historic
    role. With the shift of the Highway 75 designation to the new freeway
    route and its direct connection to the Interstate system, regional traffic
    moved away from Fort Crook Road. Commuters, frustrated by the frequent
    traffic signals along the old route, also shifted to the Kennedy. As a result,
    average daily traffic along Fort Crook Road fell to about 10,000 vehicles
    per day, carried commodiously along a six-lane divided roadway with a
    capacity of four times that volume. Interestingly, congestion on the
    overused Kennedy Freeway has encouraged a modest return to the
    underutilized Fort Crook Road route.

    Nevertheless, the role of this strategic community corridor is changing.
    The regional traffic that fueled the growth of restaurants, motels, and other
    service businesses has gone to parallel freeways on both sides of the river.
    The south inner-city market that helped create Southroads has also shifted
    elsewhere, and most of that regional mall has been put to other uses. Even
    industries are looking to other locations that offer better access and fewer
    constraints. At the same time, other things are happening – new
    commercial centers, office buildings near Offutt, and most recently the
    Lifelong Learning Center campus reflect substantial land use changes in
    the corridor. The wide, underutilized right-of-way provides an opportunity
    for corridor enhancement. And Fort Crook Road and the Kennedy Freeway
    are the two linear spines that touch all three of Bellevue’s large development
    sub-communities. These shifts provide an historic opportunity to re-create
    the corridor as an important center of the community.

•   Some industrial uses are no longer appropriate along Fort Crook Road, making
    other development more difficult. The coincidence of a railroad mainline and
    a major traffic arterial often create the conditions for industrial districts.
    Thus, in Omaha, it is no accident that the parallel corridors of Interstate
    80, the Union Pacific mainline, and US Highway 275 (L Street) created the
    conditions for a belt of interconnected industrial parks developed during
    the 1950’s and 1960’s by the Omaha Industrial Foundation. Similarly, those
    areas where Fort Crook Road and the Missouri Pacific (now Union Pacific)
    mainline closely paralleled each other also developed with industrial uses.
    These include the west side of the corridor from Cornhusker Road to the
    county line and at the Capehart Road interchange. Some of these
    commercial uses include extensive outdoor storage and discourage the
    evolution of more community-oriented uses. One of the largest of these
    industrial facilities, the Wilson Concrete yard, appears likely to relocate,
    creating a significant development opportunity.

•   Well-planned development along the Kennedy is especially important. The
    Kennedy Freeway and its interchanges have become the major points of
    entry into the city. Therefore, quality development on remaining properties
    near the interchanges is particularly important. Because the Highway 370
    interchange is constrained by the flood plain and railroad, most commercial
    development has focused at the Cornhusker Road and, to a lesser degree,
    Chandler Road interchanges. In the future, the Capehart interchange could
    also experience development with a transition from industrial to
    commercial uses.

                                                                                                 37
SPECIAL PLACES
                 CITY ENTRANCES

                 •   Bellevue should (but does not) communicate a sense of community excellence and
                     beauty at its entrance points. Community gateways identify the city’s
                     boundaries and communicate a sense of quality and “brand” for the city.
                     Bellevue’s entrances are somewhat difficult to define, because of the city’s
                     relatively diffuse form. In addition, signage regulations on the Kennedy
                     limit the flexibility of community identification programs. Primary
                     community entrance points are probably:

                     -   The south gateway, at the Kennedy Freeway/Fort Crook Road
                         interchange.
                     -   Each interchange from the Kennedy Freeway.
                     -   The east entrance on Highway 370 from the Bellevue Bridge.
                     -   West city limits lines on Cornhusker Road and Highway 370.
                     -   The county line entrances at Fort Crook Road, 25th, 36th, and 48th Streets.

                 HISTORICAL PLACES

                 •   Bellevue’s history makes the city distinctive, and creates a framework of special
                     places. Bellevue is perhaps paradoxically Nebraska’s oldest community
                     and its fastest growing city. Embedded in this auto-oriented, decentralized
                     city of 45,000 are such unique and historic resources as Fontenelle Forest,
                     the Sarpy County Museum, Offutt Air Force Base and the base landscape,
                     a Lewis and Clark campsite and heritage, First Presbyterian Church, the
                     Bank of Bellevue, the Bellevue Depot, and other historic resources.

                 •   Some of Bellevue’s historic resources are relatively unknown and hard to get to. A
                     program to interpret these features and direct visitors from major
                     trafficways to them could help increase activity and traffic levels. Building
                     an urban fabric around historical resources can help create special places
                     and centers in the community.




38
                                                                                     SPECIAL PLACES

Strategies and Directions
Participants in the Bellevue Future planning process identified the following
as possible strategies to address the issues related to Special Places.

Developing a niche and coordinated strategy for the city’s traditional town
center, now referred to as Old Town. Bellevue must define an appropriate
role for the traditional town center, a discussion that to date has been
inconclusive. This brand, which will determine marketing and promotional
focuses, public improvement and investment efforts, and real estate
development, should be defined not be default by but a process that involves
stakeholders in the district. Ultimately, the offerings of the district and its
brand or image must be consistent with one another – the district must deliver
on its expectations and promises. The district should offer a unique quality.
Its scale –how the district “feels” to its users – is important to this objective.
Riverfront development can provide an important linkage and boost to the
town center.

Establishing plans and design standards for Bellevue’s key urban corridors.
Arterial corridors are particularly important to the structure of Bellevue.
Therefore, sound development and attractive design of them is especially
important. These key corridors include Ft Crook Road, the Kennedy, Galvin
Road, Cornhusker Road, Highway 370. Bellevue should establish and
implement specific plans for its corridors, defining performance and design
standards for them.

Establishing Fort Crook Road as a redevelopment area. Fort Crook Road
will take on a very different personality in the future from its traditional role
as a commercial/general industrial corridor. A beautification program along
the corridor should also be pursued.

Developing and implementing a design feature at each of the city’s principal
gateways. City gateways should be developed as important image and design
features.

Taking advantage of the Missouri Riverfront potential to become an
important community place. The riverfront should be developed according
to a plan; its individual components should be linked and tied to other
community features, such as the traditional town center. Riverfront
development should provide adequate parking for events and good access,
and should accommodate special community needs. Some of these may
include a riverfront restaurant, skateboard park, and amphitheater or
performance space. Bellevue Boulevard is a special and highly exposed
community corridor that is related to the riverfront environment. It should
be more accessible to the public in a way that does not compromise the
appearance of the street or the property quality of residents.




                                                                                                 39
SPECIAL PLACES
                 Encouraging emerging activity areas to develop as mixed use centers,
                 rather than isolated strip centers. The Twin Creeks area is beginning to
                 emerge as an activity center, a place to which people come for more than one
                 purpose. Projects like the planned Twin Creeks Village, which will add a
                 pedestrian-oriented commercial village to the existing Twin Creeks theater is
                 an example of such an evolution. The continued development of Twin Creeks
                 as a unified business district and the emergence of other mixed use centers
                 should be encouraged.

                 Taking advantage of Bellevue’s historic resources. Capitalizing on these
                 features includes marketing, interpretation, and directional graphics, leading
                 visitors to the locations. In addition, building definable districts around
                 historic resources can help create stronger urban places.

                 Defining Bellevue as a place of for community events and festivity. Bellevue
                 itself should be a special place with a strong identity and image. Bellevue
                 should establish a strong and identifiable marketing presence and image. In
                 addition, Bellevue should work hard to become “fun” – a pleasant place to be.
                 Community events can be a part of this effort. Existing and potential events
                 include Arrows to Aerospace, Old Town Christmas, a Vets Parade, raft regatta,
                 and others. Bellevue’s image may emphasize both its past history and present
                 quality of life.

                 Making Bellevue’s parks and trails system into a defining community
                 resource. Parks, trails, and greenways are important public spaces for Bellevue
                 and can help tie the city together. While many participants in the planning
                 process are dissatisfied with park coverage, they are also aware of the value
                 that a fully developed system can have to the city. Neighborhood parks,
                 recreation areas, and community “commons” can provide special centers for
                 their respective neighborhoods and, linked together, for the city as a whole.
                 Trails have been especially popular; additional trails and trail-related facilities
                 (including equestrian facilities) are needed. A community recreation center
                 also can be a special city place.




40
                              BUSINESS AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT



                  Bellevue Future
BUSINESS AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT




          E
                conomic development in Bellevue has been high on the community’s
                agenda and, in some ways, is at the heart of this Bellevue Future planning
                project. Yet, economic development focuses in Bellevue have long been
          hampered by uncertainty over objectives. During the last half-century of
          Bellevue’s growth as a city, it has prospered in two related, but parallel tracks.
          Along one track, Bellevue grew as the home and service center for Offutt Air
          Force Base and the headquarters of the Strategic Air Command. As Offutt
          and SAC grew during the Cold War years, the base fueled substantial housing
          and commercial demand for the city. While Capehart provided for many of
          the base’s housing needs, many subdivisions were developed for base staff
          and, often, for retired officers who chose to settle in the city. Offutt itself has
          been the city’s dominant employer and leading generator of independent
          economic activity. Indeed, the historically close relationship between the base
          and the community, epitomized through the present Stratcom Offutt
          Community Support Group, has worked to the great benefit of both parties.

          The Bellevue area’s other growth track has been as a residential suburb of
          Omaha, offering good residential neighborhoods and quality schools with
          relatively easy access to all of Omaha’s major employment centers. This growth
          accelerated with the promise and ultimately completion of the Kennedy
          Freeway. However, despite some successful economic development efforts,
          Bellevue has not attracted a large non-military employer or grown substantially
          through other concerted development efforts.

          Through its recent history, Bellevue, which has prospered through these two
          historic growth tracks, has neither successfully established a broad consensus
          around economic development directions. To some, the community’s
          population growth has been result enough, without the need for considering
          the costs of economic incentives or environmental impact. To others, economic
          development means attracting higher quality retail services to serve the city’s
          burgeoning residential population. Still others believe that Bellevue should
          attract industries to provide job centers independent of either other parts of
          the metropolitan area or of base employment. A recent local debate over a
          prospective meat processing plant helped to crystallize but not fully resolve
          this debate over economic development policy.

          Some major trends that are helping to shape the debate over economic
          development policy in Bellevue include the following issues.

          •   A perception of uncertainty about the future of Offutt Air Force Base and
              Stratcom. In a post-Cold War period, the future of Offutt has been
              uncertain. The base is still a critical part of American strategic defense
                                                                                           41
BUSINESS AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
                  policy and few seriously expect the base to close in the foreseeable future.
                  However, changes in strategy and the world, most of which are beyond
                  our abilities to predict, can cause significant changes in the complement
                  of base staff or outside employment. Some observers believe that potential
                  privatization of certain base functions can also change Offutt’s contribution
                  to the Bellevue market. But most difficult of all to measure are the effects
                  of a post-9.11.01 environment, when the traditional strategic focuses on
                  major nation states has changed to an emphasis on the more immediate
                  threat of international terrorism. In this new military world, our erstwhile
                  strategic enemies now appear to be allies. In such a world, the mission of
                  Stratcom may shift to new types of operations; however, every indication
                  is that the command will remain vital to both national security and to the
                  economy of Bellevue.

              •   Greater selectivity about economic development prospects. At one time, most
                  communities were interested in attracting jobs, and fashioned their
                  economic development programs in this direction. During the prosperous
                  “New Economy” of the 1990s, many communities became more selective,
                  weighing the benefits of an expanded local job base against environmental
                  effects and housing and population implications. This has sometimes
                  created confusion and mixed messages among economic development
                  professionals, who are sometimes at odds with the prevailing opinion of
                  other community interests.

              •   Shifting business development and land use patterns in the Omaha metropolitan
                  area. The OIF corridor, for many years the mainstay of industrial
                  development in the metropolitan area, is virtually full. Most of West
                  Omaha has developed residentially, as city land use policy did not reserve
                  additional industrial or flexible business park space in the suburban city.
                  As a result, the focus for much of this development, including both
                  industrial buildings and plants and mixed office/industrial “flex”
                  buildings, has shifted south into Sarpy County. Much of this development
                  is occurring west of 114th Street along the Highway 370 and Giles Road
                  corridors, in facilities with excellent access to Interstate 80. Bellevue has
                  not developed industrial facilities to the extent of the central west county.

              •   A continued western movement of primary retail development. Through the
                  1990s, metropolitan area retailing was concentrated in three regional
                  shopping malls, Crossroads, Westroads, and Oak View Mall, as well as a
                  number of commercial strips, such as West Center Road west of Interstate
                  680 and Maple Street from 129th to 156th Street. As Sarpy County has steadily
                  grown, a market has emerged for a fourth regional mall to provide more
                  convenient service to the southern part of the metropolitan area. In 2000,
                  a fourth mall location was announced at 72nd and Highway 370 in Papillion.
                  At the same time, commercial development continued west along the
                  Center, Dodge, and Maple corridors.

                  In Bellevue, the completion of the Kennedy Freeway set off a series of
                  announcements of potential big-box or “power center ” commercial
                  projects. While a Wal-Mart supercenter was completed, the proposed
                  Kennedy Center power center at the Cornhusker Road interchange has
                  not been completed.
42
                                               BUSINESS AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT

Issues/Opportunities
Participants in the Bellevue Future planning process identified a variety of
specific issues as they considered business and economic development.
Specific issue areas include:

    •   Industrial Development
    •   Retail Development
    •   Major Community Corridors: Fort Crook Road and Kennedy Freeway
    •   City Entrances
    •   Historical Places

INDUSTRIAL AND BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT

•   Bellevue has yet to define its primary business and industrial targets. While
    Offutt has produced some spin-off industries and installations, the city
    has not defined a specific development focus. Many efforts have
    concentrated on commercial development projects, providing services to
    residents and service employment. This emphasis has raised concerns
    that non-residential development is too heavily weighted toward
    commercial development.

•   Bellevue has not defined sites for future business development. Bellevue has
    followed a “West Omaha” development pattern in its future land use
    planning – that is, most of its primary westward growth direction is
    designated for residential development, leaving little land for industrial
    or business park growth. The largest areas for industrial development are
    located south of Offutt and east of Fort Crook Road. However, these areas
    have relatively poor transportation access and are interrupted by railroad
    right-of-way and the Papio Creek. The proposed new Missouri River
    crossing and a possibility of a cross-county arterial on the Platteview Road
    alignment, while well into the future, will increase the potential of
    industrial sites between the base property and the Platte River (including
    the former Arcadia plant and surrounding area).

RETAIL DEVELOPMENT

•   Despite an emphasis on commercial development, much of the city’s retail base
    tends toward the middle or discount market. Despite Bellevue’s relatively high
    median income, estimated at $51,768 for households and about $62,000
    for families, retailers and marketers do not seem to view it as a high-end
    market. This may be partially due to the relatively tight grouping of
    household incomes around the median. Bellevue is clearly a city of the
    middle-class, with relatively small populations classified as either very
    wealthy or very poor. One-half of the population has incomes ranging
    from $40,000 to $100,000. As a result, big-box retailers, including discount
    stores, have typically been attracted to the city, while higher-end retailers
    have sought the upper-income demographics of central West Omaha.

•   The future of older retail centers like Southroads is uncertain. Southroads
    and other major retailing clustered along Fort Crook Road just south of

                                                                                     43
BUSINESS AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
                  the county line developed when the metropolitan area’s primary retail
                  markets were east of 72nd Street. Southroads was part of a strategy of
                  three malls – Southroads, Crossroads, and Northroads – to serve the
                  southern, central, and potential northern markets. With the migration of
                  population and retailing westwards, Southroads’ market area contracted
                  and with the sale of the Brandeis chain to Younkers during the 1980’s, the
                  mall’s major anchor closed. Much of Southroads has converted to non-
                  retail commercial and office use.

              •   Some of Bellevue’s western markets are developing retail patterns more typical of
                  the western part of the Omaha area. For example, Twin Creeks has developed
                  as a combination of a community commercial center (with large grocery
                  and strip shops) and a multiple screen theater, the metropolitan area’s
                  third. However, the city’s current land use plan does not identify a site for
                  future community commercial development.

              THE FUTURE OF OFFUTT

              •   Changes in the world strategic situation will create changes in the mission of
                  Offutt and Stratcom. The end of the Cold War, and the changing nature of
                  strategic threats, will create changes and, with change, a perception of
                  uncertainty about the future direction of Offutt and the Strategic
                  Command. It is clear from the events of September 11, 2001, that the world,
                  unfortunately, is no less dangerous a place than it once was. These events
                  and growing concerns about national security have prompted increases
                  in military spending as well a honing of priorities. The effect of the shift
                  from strategic concerns about Russia and China to the more subtle and
                  unknown threats of international terrorism, homeland security, and rogue
                  nations is unknown. However, it is clear that Stratcom will continue to
                  have a central role to play in the emerging military structure.

              •   Privatization of work from Offutt could have an effect on the city’s economy.
                  Some base services that have been performed by military personnel appear
                  likely to be privatized. This may create private business opportunities in
                  Bellevue itself, which could be beneficial to entrepreneurs. However, the
                  effects of privatization may be mixed.

              •   Offutt should be increasingly recognized as a development partner. In addition
                  to privatized services, Bellevue’s economy should capitalize on technology
                  spin-offs from the Base. The community and the base must continue their
                  historic pattern of communication and cooperation to mutual benefit. The
                  base and the city are immeasurably strengthened by working together.

              WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT

              •   Development and retention of a skilled resource continues to be a priority for
                  Bellevue. However, the city has major training resources with Bellevue
                  University, the new Lifelong Learning Center, and the nearby Mahoney
                  Campus of Metropolitan Community College.



44
                                             BUSINESS AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT

Strategies and Directions
Participants in the Bellevue Future planning process identified the following
as possible strategies to address the issues related to economic development
policy.

Defining economic development goals for Bellevue. One of the city’s most
important economic development priorities is simply defining its direction
and goals. The city must decide:

•   Its ideal business/commercial mix.
•   Its ultimate future – bedroom suburb for Omaha or a balanced, self-
    sustaining community. Many seem to want it to be a city that retains a
    small-town feel, a goal that in itself requires careful planning.
•   The nature of industrial and commercial targets. High-technology business
    seems a logical extension of Offutt.

Developing a quality local workforce, tied to economic development targets.
Bellevue must attract the people and skills necessary to support its business
aspirations. Workforce development focuses should include:

•   Partnerships with schools and the private sector, including internships
    and mentoring programs.
•   Skilled trades and professional training.
•   Information technology
•   Knowledge workers.

Expanding and improving the quality of retail development. Bellevue should
identify its commercial targets and organize to land them, on the model of an
industrial foundation. This organizational effort should follow up on slow-
to-develop projects and investigate reasons for resistance by high prestige
anchors.

Supporting transportation improvements that improve regional access. These
projects include:

•   Widening of the Kennedy Expressway.
•   A new Missouri River bridge and development of the Platteview corridor.
•   Traffic management and flow improvements on Fort Crook Road to
    provide relief for the Kennedy.

Designating and planning sites for business development. Bellevue has not
yet developed a coordinated office or business park project. The Fort Crook
corridor, including the Southroads area, may provide an opportunity for such
a project in an enhanced business setting. In identifying sites suited to
industrial and business targets such as biotech and high-technology facilities,
the city should consider proximity to competitive businesses and facilities,
transportation access, and overall planning imperatives. Current national
trends to integrate industrial, commercial, and even residential development
into carefully planned environments should also be considered.


                                                                                  45
BUSINESS AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
              Emphasizing Offutt Air Force Base as a strategic development partner
              with the city. The city and the base should develop strategies that involve
              mutual support. The continuation of the current support group, along with
              a network of other contacts, can enable both entities to understand and adapt
              to changes and evolving needs of the other. Development strategies should
              diversify Bellevue’s economy to reduce vulnerability to severe cutbacks or
              even closing of the base.




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                                                 L E A D E R S H I P A N D PA RT N E R S H I P S



                      Bellevue Future
PUBLIC AND PRIVATE LEADERSHIP AND PARTNERSHIPS




             C
                     ommunity leadership is a key issue in Bellevue and most other growing
                    suburban cities. During the last fifty years, Bellevue has undergone a
                    sea-change, expanding tenfold from a town of 4,000 in 1950 to 45,000
             in 2000. This kind of growth puts significant stress on government structures
             and the city’s private institutions. Simply put, the leadership structure that
             the city evolved during the first century of its existence – the structure of a
             small, closely-knit town – requires adaptation to meet the needs of the large,
             if dispersed, city that Bellevue has become.

             Yet, trends and characteristics of Bellevue create some special challenges as
             well. We have talked previously about the effect of physical dispersion and
             barriers on community identity. Some other important challenges include:

             •   Bellevue’s growth by accretion and annexation, rather than from the center outward.
                 As we have seen, subdivisions developed in Sarpy County south of the
                 county line and adjacent to Capehart and Offutt. Many of these
                 developments identified with Omaha or the Base more than Bellevue.
                 Bellevue has grown by annexing these developments; but annexations,
                 sometimes contested, do not necessarily establish an identification with
                 the city. Some growing suburban communities have grown concentrically,
                 outward from the core of the old community; Bellevue’s growth has
                 stemmed more from incorporating previously developed areas.

             •   The Sanitary and Improvement District financing technique. SID’s are created
                 by developers to finance public improvements. These “quasi-governments”
                 are operated by a Board, initially controlled by the developer of the
                 subdivision, which makes capital and operational decisions about the
                 District. When the subdivision is built out to a substantial degree, the
                 control of the Board (and the ability to set tax rates) shifts to property
                 owners who become used to a level of self-government at the subdivision
                 level. This further decentralizes community leadership, as the city is
                 viewed as a body that is taking power from a smaller, more “democratic”
                 unit of government. SID’s tend to take on a life beyond the financing
                 technique that they were intended to be.

             •   The transitory nature of much of the city’s population. Community leadership
                 depends on stability and people with a long institutional memory and
                 emotional commitment to the place. Much of Bellevue’s population, with
                 its large military component, is from other places and has historically
                 been likely to move on after their period of service. Interestingly, these
                 trends appear to be changing somewhat; with greater local community
                 growth, the proportion of the city’s population that is military has declined,
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L E A D E R S H I P A N D PA RT N E R S H I P S
                              and people in the service are tending toward longer stays in the city. The
                              military presence has been critical to the city’s prosperity and the diversity
                              and different experiences and points of view represented have enriched
                              Bellevue. But the continuing long-term association with the city that
                              produces community leadership and charitable support is often missing.

                          •   The unified image of the Omaha metropolitan area and the strong tradition of
                              private philanthropy to its major institutions. Ironically, one of the Omaha
                              area’s greatest strengths is both a great benefit and substantial challenge
                              to Bellevue. Omaha regularly registers one of the highest levels of private
                              philanthropy of any city in the nation. The ability of the community to
                              support major projects and institutions, sometimes on very short notice,
                              is the envy of many other cities in the region. In addition, the identification
                              of these major donors with “Omaha” is extremely strong. In an important
                              way, Bellevue, Papillion, LaVista, Ralston, and Elkhorn, are all viewed as
                              part of “Omaha.” Suburban cities benefit from the abundance of support
                              to the overall metropolitan area and its attractions and cultural institutions.
                              However, these cities have been less successful at establishing their own
                              identities and projects as worthy of corporate, private, or foundation
                              support.

                          Issues/Opportunities
                          Participants in the Bellevue Future planning process identified a variety of
                          specific issues as they considered issues of community leadership. Specific
                          issue areas include:

                              •   Private and Public Partnerships
                              •   Government Image
                              •   Communication

                          PUBLIC/PRIVATE PARTNERSHIPS

                          •   Government in Bellevue is stretched to provide quality basic services and does not
                              have discretionary funds to finance major projects by itself. Bellevue’s
                              development pattern makes it an expensive community to serve. There is
                              a strong relationship between the cost of local government and dispersion
                              of a community across the countryside, caused by the distances that must
                              be covered by various services per unit of population or housing. This
                              relationship is rarely recognized by taxpayers, who seek low density
                              neighborhoods and low taxes. The result tends to squeeze local
                              government, even when services are offered with extreme efficiency. The
                              cost of providing basis services leaves Bellevue without adequate funds
                              to finance major capital expenditures by itself.

                          •   Bellevue does not have a body of large community donors. The Omaha
                              metropolitan area has clearly benefited from its high percentage of
                              millionaires – people who have grown up in the community and become
                              wealthy through their investments in small companies that ultimately
                              became very large. Bellevue has a high median income, but a relatively
                              small percentage of very wealthy households – only about 2% of

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                                                                 L E A D E R S H I P A N D PA RT N E R S H I P S
    households earn over $150,000 annually, and only 0.3% earn more than
    $250,000. As a result, Bellevue must reach out to the larger metropolitan
    charitable community and establish its projects as part of the overall
    metropolitan picture.

GOVERNMENT IMAGE

•   Rightly or wrongly, Bellevue government has had a negative image – one of conflict
    rather than dealing with significant issues. Different people have widely
    different views of the effectiveness and image of local government.
    Through the planning process, people consistently gave high rankings to
    basic public services, while at the same time viewing government as
    conflict-ridden. Different groups also have different views of the reason
    for this perception. Some consider it the result of the large ten-member
    City Council, which draws two members from each of five Council districts.
    Others wonder whether the current Council-manager form of government
    should be replaced by the strong mayor/strong Council system utilized
    by Omaha and Council Bluffs. Some participants view city government
    as reacting to problems rather than framing the city’s agenda.

•   There has been confusion over the Council’s role, particularly in regard to city
    administration. Council/manager forms of government do sometimes
    engender role confusion, because the City council is ultimately responsible
    for city administration. The Council delegates this authority to a city
    administrator, but still retains ultimate oversight over the administrator
    and decides his/her job status. By contrast, a mayor/Council form,
    patterned after the federal division of powers, separates executive and
    legislative/budgetary functions. As a result, the council constitutionally
    is not responsible for routine city administration and does not
    appropriately intervene in these matters. Of course, theory and practice
    in local government can be two very different things.

•   Bellevue’s private and public sectors have not always moved in a unified direction.
    A consistency of interest between government and the private sector is
    particularly important in Bellevue, with its lack of large identifiable donors.
    While the “private sector” is hardly a monolithic entity, the Chamber of
    Commerce has generally been able to act as a unified voice. The city/
    Chamber development alliance, of which this plan is a part, is a particularly
    promising trend. Indeed, an important priority of this document is to
    provide this alliance with a near and medium-term agenda.

COMMUNICATION

•   Providing information to people is a vital need, particularly in a community
    struggling for identity. In some ways, efforts to communicate and inform
    can establish common identification for the city, countering Bellevue’s
    geographic dispersion. Bellevue does benefit from a community
    newspaper, the Bellevue Leader, but is not a distinct market from the point
    of view of regional media, including the World-Herald, radio, and
    television.


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L E A D E R S H I P A N D PA RT N E R S H I P S
                          •   Lack of information management can lead to a perception of unproductive
                              conflict. Poor communication over issues can lead to sectional resentments,
                              particularly when Bellevue’s neighborhoods are so geographically distinct.
                              These conflicts create disunity, especially when amplified in the media –
                              disunity that a city striving for community and common identification.

                          Strategies and Directions
                          Participants in the Bellevue Future planning process identified the following
                          as possible strategies to address the issues related to community leadership
                          issues.

                          Establishing a strong foundation of public and private cooperation.
                          Partnerships range from efforts to complete specific projects, such as park
                          system development, to such routine areas as zoning and land use control,
                          with the partnership establishing common values on such issues as community
                          design standards.

                          In the area of capital development, city government and the Community
                          Foundation (BEEF) should be engaged as active partners toward community
                          improvement and projects. Private fund-raising is vital to the implementation
                          of proposed programs. This alliance of public and private sectors for
                          community improvements must establish Bellevue as an identifiable part of
                          the Omaha metropolitan environment, worthy of support from organizations
                          that finance Omaha projects. Businesses should make people available for
                          development efforts and work in cooperative, concerted ways on fund-raising.

                          Improving the image of government. Bellevue’s government is operationally
                          sound, but should continue to enhance its image. The metropolitan area has
                          significant resources, most notably UNO’s College of Public Administration
                          and Community Service who can assist the city on issues like staff training,
                          defining the roles of the council and executive, and other efforts. Government
                          enhancement efforts should be presented in a straightforward way, using a
                          commitment to achieve a higher level of unity and service to gather positive
                          publicity.

                          Resolving the controversy about Bellevue’s form of municipal government.
                          The structure of government remains a significant issue. While the size of the
                          Council is a frequent subject for debate, the planning process suggests that
                          this is less an issue for most people than the structure and relationship of the
                          executive and legislative/policy-making responsibilities. Bellevue should
                          embark upon a highly credible, open study of how its government should be
                          organized. This may involve a diverse commission of people with broad
                          experience and high credibility, and extensive but managed public debate.
                          Leading options for study include a Council/Manager government (the existing
                          system with a ward or hybrid council) or a strong mayor system.




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                                                             L E A D E R S H I P A N D PA RT N E R S H I P S
Creating a system that encourages volunteer involvement in the
community. Even people who are in a city for a relatively short time often
want to be a part of its life and its institutions, but have no idea how to become
involved. To take advantage of its impressive human resources , Bellevue
should institute an outreach system that invites people into the volunteer
network. Such a system, involving the united efforts of volunteer agencies,
would provide information on volunteer opportunities with detailed
information on contacts and process. The system may include innovations
such as an electronic information/matching service, analogous to those used
by electronic retailers to match skills and preferences to buying
recommendations.

Continuing and expanding leadership development programs such as
Leadership Bellevue. In addition to the current Leadership Bellevue program,
the Chamber and city government should cooperate on special programs such
as “how to run for office.” Peer, mentoring, and role modeling programs should
be developed through the chamber.

Improving communications between government and constituents. Public
communication should be an important component of city government. The
city might consider creating the position of public information officer, charged
with providing newsletters and acting as a contact point for city issues and
publicity.




                                                                                                          51
52
Bellevue Future




  AN ACTION AGENDA




                     53
54
         Bellevue Future

T
      he central section of the Bellevue Future Plan examined the challenges
      and trends revolving around the five strategic issue areas identified
      during the process. These issues converge into nine basic policy and
project focuses that should define Bellevue’s community development efforts
during the next ten years. These critical action focuses include:

  A GROWTH FRAMEWORK
Bellevue will define a land use and development plan based on the smart
growth principles and a transportation and open space framework.

  CITY CENTERS
Bellevue will evolve as a multi-nuclear city, with a mixed-use town centers
serving each of the city’s three development neighborhoods. A “city center,” a
pedestrian-oriented campus that combines major community facilities with
commercial will be the territory of all residents of the city. The “town centers”
and city center will be connected to each other by parkways and trails.

  OLD TOWN CENTER
Bellevue’s traditional town center will become a special development area in
its own right, providing opportunities for new growth that create a district of
special distinction that is linked thematically to the history of the city and the
Missouri River.

  FORT CROOK ROAD
Fort Crook Road will emerge as a community spine that acts as the seam that
links the city’s separate areas together.

  THE RIVERFRONT
Bellevue’s Missouri Riverfront will develop as an important open space
amenity for the city and the region.

  PARK DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM
Bellevue will implement its park master plan, establishing a system that
provides a high quality of service to each part of the city and creates an open
space network that acts as a community commons, linking the separate parts
of the community together.

   ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT STRATEGY
Bellevue will pursue an economic development strategy that includes a triad of
initiatives: clear definition of economic development objectives and targets, provision
of sites and infrastructure for economic development, and a qualitatively stronger
retail environment.


                                                                                     55
        COMMUNITY IMAGE AND MARKETING CAMPAIGN
     Bellevue will implement an image campaign that identifies the city as a distinctive
     place that is nevertheless a member of a metropolitan community.

         PUBLIC/PRIVATE PARTNERSHIP
     Bellevue will develop a strong partnership between its public and private
     sectors, establishing an identity of interest that gains access to local and
     regional funding resources. Bellevue will engage the talents of its residents in
     the full range of volunteer activities needed to support the community and its
     programs.

     Each of these project focuses includes a succinct presentation of :

     •   The Vision, identifying the broad destination that Bellevue should
         seek to achieve for each focus.

     •   The Challenges, identifying issues that affect Bellevue’s ability to
         accomplish the vision, based largely on comments of participants
         during the planning process.

     •   Directions, identifying techniques and actions that address the
         challenges and can help the community accomplish its vision.




56
                                                                          GROWTH FRAMEWORK



                                  Bellevue Future
GROWTH FRAMEWORK
Bellevue will define a land use and development plan based on the smart growth principles and a
transportation and open space framework.




                         The Vision

                         •   An efficient city that identifies growth areas that are linked to one another
                             by a framework of streets and greenways.

                         •   A city of three “towns” corresponding to the three primary development
                             districts, each with a mixed use town center and a major park, each
                             connected to and identifying with each other.

                         •   Emergence of a revived Fort Crook Road corridor and the Papio Valley/
                             AICUZ as “community commons” that are shared by all three towns and
                             bind the city together.

                         •   New development that is efficiently and economically served, and provides
                             its residents and users with engaging and varied urban environments.

                         •   Major street and highway corridors that provide attractive public spaces
                             for motorists and other users, and a high degree of connectedness around
                             the city.
                                                                                                        57
GROWTH FRAMEWORK
             •   Efficient phasing of growth based on incremental extensions of
                 infrastructure.

             •   Reservation of land to take advantage of the economic development
                 potential of a new corridor created by a planned new Missouri River bridge.

             The Challenges

                 •   Pod development patterns, with self-contained Sanitary and
                     Improvement Districts that are connected to section line arterials but
                     not to other development pods.

                 •   A comprehensive plan that does not clearly define a growth vision or
                     establish major framework systems, and fails to provide guidance to
                     city staff, public decision makers, and developers.

                 •   Lack of street continuity or connecting routes for local and inter-
                     neighborhood transportation other than the section line grid.

                 •   Parks and public spaces that are generally located in expedient areas,
                     and are not central to the functioning of residential neighborhoods.

                 •   Integration of the Papio Valley trail system (Keystone, Bellevue Loop,
                     and West Papio Trails) into the fabric of adjacent neighborhoods and
                     activity centers.

                 •   Lack of adequate, strategically located sites for industrial and business
                     park development.

             Directions

             •   Develop a new comprehensive plan that establishes directions for growth
                 and locations for mixed use town centers and other commercial
                 development, and defines the city’s transportation and open space
                 framework.

             •   Define three identifiable towns, corresponding to the three development
                 clusters the together make up Bellevue. Establish a town identity for each
                 area, as part of the City of Bellevue. Improve internal street and trail
                 connections within each town and interconnections among towns. These
                 towns, now more identifiable on a map than on the ground, include:

                 -   The traditional town expanded, defined by the county line, the river, and Fort
                     Crook Road.
                 -   Northwest Bellevue, defined by the county line, the Papio Valley floodplain,
                     and Fort Crook Road.
                 -   Southwest Bellevue, defined on the north and east by the Papio Valley and
                     extending to the edge of the Bellevue jurisdiction on the west.




58
                                                                                       GROWTH FRAMEWORK
•   Adopt “smart growth” principles to guide new development in the city.
    Principles of smart growth include:

    Encouraging development that provides a distinctive sense of place.
    - Promote development that reflects the character of the community.
    - Build cohesiveness among residents and maintain a community identity
        that creates a sense of membership.
    -   Create a physically attractive atmosphere for prospective homeowners
        and businesses.

    Preserving open space and significant environmental resources
    - Preserve open space, and critical environmental areas.
    - Sustain special ecosystems for natural habitat and recreation.

    Mixing land uses.
    -   Diversity of activity in neighborhoods.
    -   Place a variety of uses near one another, allowing alternatives to automobile travel.
    -   Create a variety of housing opportunities.

    Encouraging compact, person-scaled design in major activity centers.
    - Provide environments that create interesting and engaging experiences
    - Encourage a greater level of detail and building articulation in project design.
    - Ensure more efficient use of land.
    - Promote walkability and interaction among people.

    Creating housing opportunities and choices
    - Develop housing in different design configurations, reflecting the needs of a diverse
       population.
    - Encourage housing affordable to a variety of income levels, integrating different
       housing types into the fabric of the community.
    - Consider multi-use buildings which integrate housing into business environments.

    Creating transportation options.
    -   Make walking, bicycling, and, in the future, community transit into viable,
        attractive options to driving.
    -   Provide linked and connected street systems, dispersing traffic and providing
        alternatives to the use of major streets.
    -   Design streets so that traffic moves through neighborhoods at appropriate speeds.
    -   Design streets that function effectively as public places.

•   Establish improved performance standards for development along major
    community corridors, addressing:

    -   Site and right-of-way landscaping.
    -   Relationship between buildings and streets, including access from sidewalks
    -   Sign design
    -   Connections between residential and commercial areas.
    -   Building design and articulation



                                                                                                      59
GROWTH FRAMEWORK
             •   Develop a connected street network, including a collector parkway system
                 that links the development towns, mixed use town centers, and major
                 activity centers.

             •   Integrate a trail and greenway system into major community activity
                 centers, establishing greenways as seams that weave various parts of the
                 city together.

             •   Work with Metro Area Transit to establish a transit system that is
                 appropriately tailored to Bellevue’s needs, including:

                 -   An enhanced commuter transit system that provides real time and convenience
                     advantages to private auto and conventional bus transit.
                 -   Land use patterns that encourage multiple uses close to each other.
                 -   A circulator or service route system that adapts to the varying needs during
                     the course of day of major transit dependent users, primarily seniors and young
                     people.




60
                                                                                    CITY CENTERS



                                  Bellevue Future
CITY CENTERS
Bellevue will evolve as a multi-nuclear city, with a mixed-use town centers serving each of the city’s
three development neighborhoods. A “city center,” a pedestrian-oriented campus that combines major
community facilities with commercial will be the territory of all residents of the city. The “town
centers” and city center will be connected to each other by parkways and trails.




                         The Vision

                         •   A multi-nuclear city made up of three towns, each with a lively
                             mixed use center that combines commercial development with
                             residential, office, and civic uses such as branch libraries and other
                             local service facilities. Secondary centers in towns, also with mixed
                             uses, as growth continues.

                         •   Centers whose density, variety, pedestrian scale, streetscape, mix of
                             uses, public spaces, and connections among parts makes them alive
                             with activity and places that make life in the city a pleasure.

                         •   Easy access to town centers for most people from most parts of the
                             neighborhood for motorists, pedestrians, bicyclists, and even transit users.

                         •   Emergence of the Papio Valley and Fort Crook Road corridors as special
                             centers with community-wide facilities that bind the city’s three towns
                             together.
                                                                                                         61
CITY CENTERS
               •   Bellevue’s traditional town center (now marketed as Olde Towne) as a
                   unique development area, combining existing strengths with main street-
                   oriented new development combining commercial, office, and residential
                   uses.

               The Challenges

               •   Difficulty of defining any one part of Bellevue as a center of the city. The
                   Geographic center of the city is located in an unbuildable area because of
                   Papio floodplain and Offutt clear zone. Existing areas that are conceived
                   as “community territories” may include:

                   -   Old Town
                   -   Fort Crook Road
                   -   Harvel Drive and Galvin Road area, including Bellevue University
                   -   Twin Creeks, with the construction of movie theaters.

               •   Other candidate commercial corridors or community nodes include:

                   -   36th Street and Highway 370
                   -   25th and Cornhusker
                   -   Cornhusker interchange of the Kennedy Freeway
                   -   Galvin Road corridor
                   -   Southroads district
                   -   Mission Avenue mixed use corridor west of Olde Towne
                   -   Galvin Road and Harlan Drive (Highway 370)

               •   Existing centers or commercial corridors lack connectedness or pedestrian
                   access, with possible exception of Old Town and Bellevue University
                   campus. Typical patterns of independent commercial uses, with separate
                   entrances and parking, and no public space or district character. Twin
                   Creeks, with commercial fronts along a local street, trail connections, and
                   proposed commercial village linked to multi-cinema has potential as an
                   emerging mixed use center.

               •   With exception of Keystone Trail, the Papio Valley/Offutt fly zone open
                   space has no activity or public use other than agriculture.

               Directions

               •   Define mixed use “town centers” in each of the three towns, using current
                   land use patterns to establish the locations. Probable centers are:

                   -   Traditional town: Galvin and Harvel area, including Bellevue University.
                   -   Southeast: 36th and Highway 370 area, including Twin Creeks.
                   -   Northeast: 25th and Cornhusker.

               •   In areas that are continuing to develop, pre-define secondary mixed-use
                   centers in order to emphasize quality and clustering of commercial uses
                   over quantity of land covered. Also consider other strategically located
                   sites for clusters of community or civic uses. Possible locations for
                   secondary mixed-use centers or major civic nodes include:
62
                                                                                       CITY CENTERS
          th                    th                  th                        th
    -   36 and Schneekloth, 25 and Fairview, 36 and Capehart, and/or 8 and
        Capehart (with future development) in the southeast.
    -   36th and Chandler in the northeast.

•   Locate programmed civic buildings, such as branch libraries, on sites in
    or adjacent to designated mixed use or major civic centers.

•   Establish town centers as Business Improvement Districts, drawing these
    areas together as districts and assisting with the administration and
    financing of improvement programs.

•   Reinforce the public environment in town center districts, including:

    -   Sidewalk and pedestrian improvements that link major buildings or
        development sires together and to the public sidewalk and/or trail network.
    -   Public squares or spaces that form central features for the centers.
    -   Identifying district gateways and graphics to help define these commercial
        clusters as specific places.

•   Link each center to the citywide trail system, either by direct connection
    or designated connecting routes. Provide direct, designated “parkway”
    routes for vehicles and pedestrians between centers. Parkways may include
    existing or proposed streets, distinguished by special landscaping, lighting,
    directional graphics, and other design features.

•   Take full advantage of vacant or redevelopable sites in centers, integrating
    high-density residential use and other mixed uses in and around the centers
    as feasible.

•   Envision and development Fort Crook Road as a major city center corridor
    with three significant nodes and quality intervening linear development.
    The three principal nodes are the Southroads district, the Wilson Concrete
    site (northwest of Cornhusker Road intersection), and the Lifelong
    Learning Center site (northwest of Highway 370 interchange). (See FORT
    CROOK ROAD section)

•   Develop and implement a master plan for the Papio Valley/AICUZ corridor,
    creating a major open space, environmental, and recreational resource for
    the city and the entire region, compatible with the use restrictions of the
    area. Potential components for the valley could include:

    -   Interpretive agriculture, similar to Des Moines’ Living History Farms.
    -   Prairie and natural grasslands restoration and interpretation.
    -   A recreational lake for fishing and passive water sports. Any body of water
        must be developed well away from the AICUZ to prevent waterfowl interference
        with aircraft operations.
    -   Playing fields.
    -   Trail connections to major activity nodes from the trunk Keystone/Bellevue
        Loop/West Papio Trails.
    -   A Papio Valley Parkway, knitting the towns and their centers together.


                                                                                                 63
OLD TOWN CENTER



                                   Bellevue Future
OLD TOWN CENTER
Bellevue’s traditional town center will become a special development area in its own right, providing
opportunities for new growth that create a district of special distinction that is linked thematically to the
history of the city and the Missouri River.




                           The Vision

                           •   A vital mixed use area that works as a mixed use neighborhood in its own
                               right and is one of several focuses for the community.

                           •   An urban village that provides a walkable and distinctive business,
                               specialty retailing, entertainment, and residential address.

                           •   A significant center for new investment that has its own integrity but is
                               not the city’s primary center.

                           •   A thematic district that has a special connection to history and the river.




64
                                                                                 OLD TOWN CENTER
The Challenges

•   Misbranding of the district as an “Olde Towne” – a reality that does not
    conform to expectations.

•   Management mis-step on the Main Street program, using a model that
    does not fit the character of the district.

•   An uncomfortable scale for a pedestrian district, with very wide streets
    and very low-scale buildings.

•   Relatively high vacancy and under-utilization of land.

•   Significant resources, including City Hall, Bellevue Little Theater, specialty
    stores, historic resources, the river, and the character of surrounding
    neighborhoods.

Directions

•   Envision the district as a transformational area, creating a pedestrian-
    oriented village center with substantial new development. Shift emphasis
    away from a cosmetic “Olde Towne” approach.

•   Make the town center into an economically self-supporting growth area.

•   Prepare a detailed district redevelopment plan that identifies underused
    sites and redevelopment potentials, budgets, and financing techniques.
    Develop the plan in concert with current stakeholders and potential area
    developers.

•   Establish a redevelopment area, including blighted area designation and
    use of redevelopment incentives such as tax increment financing.

•   Acquire redevelopment sites and issue RFP’s for redevelopment, subject
    to specific design standards. Redevelopment should suggest “Main Street”
    buildings with 2 to 3 floors – commercial/office uses at street level,
    residential/office uses on upper levels.

•   Complete complementary streetscape improvements to define scale. These
    might include landscaped medians in Mission Avenue and Franklin Street,
    higher quality lighting, interpretive graphics, and other community-related
    features.




                                                                                              65
F O RT C R O O K R O A D



                                  Bellevue Future
FORT CROOK ROAD
Fort Crook Road will be a central community corridor, serving as a unifying linear center that knits
Bellevue’s three large development districts together.




                          The Vision

                          •   A corridor that evolves over time from an obsolete commercial strip to a
                              new kind of linear city center, consisting of important community activity
                              nodes connected by an attractive linear “necklace” of mixed uses and
                              quality urban design.

                          •   Emergence of the Lifelong Learning Center as a major focus of educational
                              and cultural life in Bellevue.

                          •   Design features that create a strong gateway for Bellevue.

                          •   A multi-modal road corridor that reflects the evolution of Fort Crook Road
                              from a regional expressway to a community corridor.

                          •   Redevelopment of obsolete or marginal current uses into major community
                              and regional features, increasing the property value and revenue yield of
                              the corridor to the city.

66
                                                                                  F O RT C R O O K R O A D
The Challenges

•   Adjacent industrial and marginal commercial uses that were established
    when Fort Crook Road was the primary route from Omaha to the south,
    and the principal city entrance from that direction. Strip commercial
    development pattern with relatively uncontrolled signage.

•   Extremely wide, multi-lane facility, with three lanes in each direction, turn
    lanes, and an extremely wide median and side right-of-way, creating a
    facility whose capacity greatly exceeds its average daily traffic. Street
    width, along with the parallel Union Pacific Railroad, that creates a major
    barrier.

•   Little landscaping on public or private property, and no uniform site
    development or design standards, creating a visually chaotic corridor.

•   Industrial development where Fort Crook Road parallels the Union Pacific
    Railroad, inhibiting development of higher value uses.

•   Lack of pedestrian or bicycle access in the corridor, other than paved
    shoulders.

•   Complex, wide intersections and relatively frequent access points, along
    with unsynchronized signals that interrupt traffic flow.

•   Drainageways and railroad main line paralleling the road in several areas.

Directions

•   Organize Fort Crook Road as a unified development district, probably as
    a Business Improvement District, providing a BID Board with the ability
    to plan and guide policy for the corridor.

•   Prepare a comprehensive redevelopment plan for the Fort Crook corridor,
    including blighted area designation, opening the possibility of using tax
    increment financing (TIF) on a project-by-project basis.

•   Concentrate on the redevelopment of two key nodes along the corridor –
    the Lifelong Learning Center and the redevelopment of the Wilson site at
    Cornhusker Road. Implement a Lifelong Learning Center land plan that
    emphasizes the relationship of the parts of the project in a district or campus
    setting, rather than viewing them as separate uses, isolated from one
    another and surrounded by their own parking lots. Redevelop the Wilson
    Concrete site as a major mixed use project, including a range of uses that
    could include a hotel with small conference facility and office and
    commercial development. Develop a master plan for this site that
    emphasizes walkability, internal and shared access, and a strong
    relationship among the project’s components. Avoid simple subdivision
    into separate lots with independent access to the road, perpetuating a
    strip development pattern.


                                                                                                        67
F O RT C R O O K R O A D
                           •   Design and implement a comprehensive roadscape program for Fort
                               Crook Road that includes:

                               -   A landscape and lighting program, analogous to Omaha’s Abbott Drive
                                   effort.
                               -   Drainageway and greenway enhancement, conceiving of this small stream
                                   as part of a linear park.
                               -   A multi-use trail and pedestrian access along the corridor, primarily
                                   between the Lifelong Learning Center and the county line, with linkages
                                   to the Bellevue Loop and riverfront systems.
                               -   Connections between new development along the corridor and the parallel
                                   trail.
                               -   Landscaped buffers and berms along the railroad.
                               -   A directional graphics system, unifying existing hard-to-read and
                                   underscaled directional signage into a coordinated system.
                               -   Gateway and community entrance features.

                           •   Consider modifying the section of the street to reflect its current
                               community context, as a complement to the Kennedy Freeway. This
                               may involve converting the road to an urban section, maintaining the
                               same three lane in each direction capacity while reducing the curb-to-
                               curb width of the road channel.

                           •   Develop a master plan for the Southroads area, working with property
                               owners and major businesses to improve traffic patterns and develop
                               strategies that help existing buildings function as components of a
                               unified business district.

                           •   Gradually redevelop other marginal commercial uses with
                               contemporary commercial, office, residential, and civic development.

                           •   Establish development standards for the Fort Crook Road corridor that:

                               -   Encourages shared vehicular access, internal local transportation, and
                                   parking.
                               -   Includes good landscaping and sign standards.
                               -   Relates buildings and projects to each other and to the evoving public
                                   environment along the road.
                               -   Provides incentives for mixed use development.




68
                                                                                 THE RIVERFRONT



                                  Bellevue Future
THE RIVERFRONT
Bellevue’s Missouri Riverfront will develop as an important open space amenity for the city and the
region.




                          The Vision

                          •   A scenic corridor, emphasizing recreational and environmental values,
                              that, to the maximum degree possible, integrates the Missouri Riverfront
                              into the community structure of Bellevue.

                          •   Public utilization that does not unacceptably compromise the appearance
                              or use of the property of adjacent owners.

                          •   Integration of the Bellevue riverfront into the regional Back to the River
                              system.

                          •   Establishing the river as a major image feature for the city.

                          •   Envisions the Bellevue Boulevard bluff top and, to some degree, the Fort
                              Crook Road corridor, into the riverfront system.


                                                                                                      69
THE RIVERFRONT
                 The Challenges

                 •   Topographic and property ownership conditions along the riverfront that
                     make complete access, and linkage to the rest of the city, virtually
                     impossible.

                 •   The BNSF Railroad’s high speed mainline that parallels the river at two
                     key points, where the channel and the foot of the bluff are very close to
                     each other.

                 •   The Kramer Power Plant north of the Bellevue Bridge, owned but unused
                     by the Nebraska Public Power District.

                 •   Important public features along the river, including Fontenelle Forest
                     Nature Center, the Kramer plant, Bellevue’s water treatment plant, Haworth
                     Park, and camps.

                 •   Unresolved riverfront trail route between Mandan Park and the beginning
                     of the Bellevue Loop Trail at Haworth Park. Riverfront trail breaks
                     Fontenelle Forest’s secure area and conflicts with the railroad; alternative
                     trail along Bellevue Boulevard is opposed by homeowners.

                 Directions

                 •   Develop a realistic pedestrian and bicycle route system along the riverfront
                     corridor between Mandan Park and Haworth Park, focusing on and
                     developed in conjunction with property owners along the Bellevue
                     Boulevard and Missouri River corridors. Residential development
                     patterns, driveway accesses, and neighborhood opposition make
                     conventional trail development along Bellevue Boulevard improbable. A
                     more realistic approach includes:

                     -   Signing an on-street connecting route between Mandan and Haworth Parks
                         to guide bicyclists using the Back to the River system, using Bellevue Boulevard,
                         Franklin Street, and Mission Avenue.

                     -   Providing a continuous, barrier-free sidewalk on at least one side of Bellevue
                         Boulevard from the county line to Franklin and Mission Avenue. Consider
                         this sidewalk to be a general community benefit rather than a special benefit to
                         adjacent property owners for financing purposes.

                     -   Providing paved bicycle shoulders on either side of the brick portion of the
                         boulevard from Mandan Park to Sidney Street.
                     -   Providing on-street parking turnouts north and south of Fontenelle Forest to
                         widen traveling area of the street channel.

                     -   Replacing all existing sewer grates with “bicycle-friendly” grates.

                     -   Providing on-street, painted bicycle lanes in areas where street width permits,
                         including Franklin Street and Mission Avenue. Creating a strong connection
                         along Mission Avenue between the river area and the traditional town center.

70
                                                                                        THE RIVERFRONT
    -   Considering an alternative route with trails and bike lanes south of Bellevue
        Boulevard and Gregg Road, using Lincoln Road to Harvel Drive; green areas
        along Harvel Drive to the Commons; the Commons to Bluff Street, with a link
        to Jewell Park; and Bluff Street and 16th Avenue across the railroad to the
        Kramer Plant and Riverfront.

•   Continue efforts to find an acceptable riverfront route with Fontenelle
    Forest. This route may require payment of fees to the Forest by trail users
    and could include granting permission for bicyclists to walk bikes along
    the barrier-free trail to the riverfront and along the Forest’s Riverfront Trail,
    or improving the Riverfront Trail to multi-use standards. All trail use
    within the Forest’s property would be subject to fees, security requirements,
    and operating hour restrictions.

•   Complete negotiations with NPPD on transfer, clean-up, and preparation
    of the Kramer Plant site, and redevelop as an open space and river access
    point, consistent with plans developed by the City.

•   Implement the Haworth Park upgrade program outlined in the city’s park
    master plan.

•   Provide points for river access and viewing, extending from the Bellevue
    Loop Trail. Potential locations form these extensions include the
    drainageway north of the Offutt Base Lake, Cunningham Road, and
    Missouri River Road.

•   In the long-term, with completion of a new Missouri River crossing at
    Highway 34, retain the Bellevue Bridge as a local traffic and bicycle
    crossing. Advocate a regional, bi-state effort to preserve the bridge and
    develop a Loess Hills Trail Link from the bridge to the Wabash Trace Trail
    and the Council Bluffs trail system along Highways 370 and 275 north in
    Iowa.




                                                                                                    71
PA R K D E V E L O P M E N T P R O G R A M



                                 Bellevue Future
PARK DEVELOPMENT
Bellevue will implement its park master plan, establishing a system that provides a high quality of
service to each part of the city and creates an open space network that acts as a community commons,
linking the separate parts of the community together.




                         The Vision

                         •   A park system that provides excellent parks and recreation services to all
                             residents of Bellevue.

                         •   Parks that become a distinguishing feature for the city, encouraging people
                             to move to or invest in Bellevue.

                         •   A park network that helps to unite Bellevue physically and to knit the city
                             together as a community.

                         •   Facilities that provide relatively equal levels of service for all parts of the
                             city and that keep up with the demands of prospective new development.




72
                                                               PA R K D E V E L O P M E N T P R O G R A M
The Challenges

•   Parks generally concentrated in the eastern part of the city, east of Fort
    Crook Road, including Haworth and Jewell Parks, Bellevue’s largest
    developed open spaces.

•   Northwest Bellevue has a significant amount of parkland, but much of it
    is undeveloped. Areas that developed immediately after World War II
    have scare park area.

•   Southwest Bellevue is dotted with relatively small SID parks, and lack
    larger, community or district scale facilities.

•   Fontenelle Forest and Papio Valley are two of the metropolitan area’s largest
    contiguous open spaces.

•   City lacks an indoor community recreation center. Nearest facility is Sarpy
    County Y at 72nd Street and First Street in Papillion.

•   Bellevue completed a park master plan in 1995, seen by many as remaining
    to be implemented.

•   The Keystone and Bellevue Loop Trails, the metropolitan area’s longest
    continuous paved trails, extend through Bellevue to Haworth Park, and
    have connecting links to Aspen Park and Copper Creek. Other trail
    segments are relatively short and disconnected.

•   City lacks a mechanism for financing parks in developing areas.

Directions

•   Begin the process of implementing the 1995 parks plan by establishing an
    orderly capital improvement program. Prepare a bond issue specifically
    based on the phased capital improvement program, with a campaign effort
    led by a broad-based Friends of Parks and Recreation citizens group.

•   Place highest priority on most significant park space needs, specifically
    community parks to serve Northwest and Southwest Bellevue. Needs for
    substantial northwest parks may be met through development of Aspen
    Park and Cedar Island Park. A southwest community park will require
    new acquisition. All community parks should be linked to the city’s park
    system.

•   Develop a community recreation center after carrying out a community-
    based, participatory planning and programming process. A process that
    involves a variety of interests in the city, and accommodates a range of
    needs and age groups, has the best chance of public support. Identify a
    site that is accessible to a variety of areas, potentially located in a large
    central park or in one of the mixed-use centers.



                                                                                                       73
PA R K D E V E L O P M E N T P R O G R A M
                         •   Develop a community-wide trails system, building from the foundation
                             of the Keystone/Bellevue Loop system, but connecting major parks and
                             activity centers. Include access to the proposed town centers and the Fort
                             Crook corridor.

                         •   Develop the Papio Valley preserve as a major regional open space resource,
                             analogous as the open space equivalent to the Cook County Forest Preserve
                             system in the Chicago metropolitan area.

                         •   Implement a mechanism for park finance, by which new subdivisions pay
                             for an equitable share of the demand for neighborhood and community
                             parks that they create. Benefit fees, if used, should be based on a standard
                             level of park service (park area and development cost per unit), and should
                             be carefully structured so that areas that pay the fee specifically benefit
                             from that payment.




74
                                                        E C O N O M I C D E V E L O P M E N T S T R AT E G Y



                                     Bellevue Future
ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
Bellevue will pursue an economic development strategy that includes a triad of initiatives: clear definition of
economic development objectives and targets, provision of sites and infrastructure for economic development, and
a qualitatively stronger retail environment.




                           The Vision

                           •   An increased business and industrial base to relieve the city from a heavy
                               reliance on residential property taxes.

                           •   A unified public and private effort focused toward mutually identified
                               business targets.

                           •   A strong entrepreneurial development program, taking full advantage of
                               Bellevue University, Offutt, Metro Community College, and other
                               programs to make Bellevue a center for new enterprise.

                           •   Identified, full service sites for business development, taking advantage
                               of both transportation assets and the city’s demographic characteristics
                               and community amenities.

                           •   A more diverse retail base, providing for upper-end services and life style
                               retailing as well as basic services and discount retailers.
                                                                                                              75
E C O N O M I C D E V E L O P M E N T S T R AT E G Y
                          The Challenges

                          •   Lack of consensus about industrial and business targets. The recent
                              prospect of a pork processing plant location crystallized this issue, calling
                              attention to the balance of property valuation and job creation against
                              community image and external effects.

                          •   Some continuing tensions and differences of focus among various groups
                              active in economic development.

                          •   History of discussions over potential industrial or business park sites, but
                              specific site developed for these purposes other than some office and
                              technology development along Fort Crook Road.

                          •   Privatization of major Offutt functions has unknown implications, and
                              may have positive or negative effects on both parties. Offutt and Bellevue
                              have an almost symbiotic relationship, making each party extremely
                              sensitive to policy changes in the other.

                          •   Prospect of new Missouri River crossing creates the possibility of an
                              emerging corridor in the south county, probably following Platteview
                              Road.

                          •   Substantial new commercial development related to Kennedy Freeway,
                              but focus has been on big boxes, free-standing restaurants, and strip center
                              development. Twin Creeks has emerged as a more conventional
                              community commercial development, more typical of West Omaha
                              commercial development. Twin Creek Village will be an innovative,
                              pedestrian-oriented commercial project associated with the theater
                              complex. However, major regional retailing seems directed farther to the
                              west.

                          •   Kennedy Center power center proposed at Kennedy Freeway and Chandler
                              Road interchange has been slow to develop.




76
                                                     E C O N O M I C D E V E L O P M E N T S T R AT E G Y
Directions

•   Convene an economic development “summit” to define specific economic
    development goals and business targets, and create criteria for the use of
    incentives such as tax increment financing.

•   Establish Bellevue as a center for new enterprise by creating a business
    development program, designed to provide opportunities and
    accommodations for new business development. Include a three-pronged
    program providing affordable space through a business incubator or other
    development, seed capital for qualifying entrepreneurs, and a technical
    assistance program involving Bellevue University, Metro Community
    College, and Offutt.

•   Through the economic development corporation or partnership with a
    private developer, secure a strategic parcel for industrial development and
    complete design and construction of public improvements. Most likely
    near-term site is a tract south of Offutt, with direct access to Fort Crook
    Road.

•   Through long range land use planning, preserve the Platteview Road
    corridor for business park and quality industrial uses. Focus development
    efforts on flex development, combining office, light industry, and
    distribution uses.

•   Maintain a strong network of formal and informal communications and
    partnerships with Offutt, providing opportunities for each party to benefit
    from the work and mission of the other, and providing adequate advance
    information to allow adaptation to policy change.

•   Complete a retail development strategy that assembles demographic
    information and defines specific desirable project profiles. Use this
    package in support of marketing efforts for existing developments, such
    as the Kennedy Center proposal; and to build interest among other
    commercial developers.




                                                                                                       77
C O M M U N I T Y I M A G E A N D M A R K E T I N G C A M PA I G N



                                    Bellevue Future
COMMUNITY IMAGE AND MARKETING
Bellevue will implement an image campaign that identifies the city as a distinctive place that is nevertheless a
member of a metropolitan community.




                           The Vision

                           •   An image that provides a strong sense of community identity, creating a
                               common emotional bond for residents of the city.

                           •   A brand that distinguishes Bellevue as a unique place, derived both from
                               the character of the city and shared aspirations for its future.

                           •   Identification of Bellevue as a premier location for residential and business
                               investment.




78
                                   C O M M U N I T Y I M A G E A N D M A R K E T I N G C A M PA I G N
The Challenges

•   Primary image as a suburban bedroom community without a strong
    community identity.

•   Local disagreements over appropriate images, including whether the city
    brand should reflect community origins as the state’s first settlement or
    the city’s future in a new century. Related to this is the ambiguity over the
    application of a proprietary image as Nebraska’s first city and the reality
    of an environment built largely during the last third of the twentieth
    century.

•   A strong mobilization of development and tourism-related interests,
    including the City, Chamber, and Sarpy County, is a distinct asset.

•   The geographic dispersal of the city makes it difficult to develop a unified
    image, yet makes creating such an image particularly important.

•   Relative community apathy around recent initiative to design a new city
    seal suggests that image development is not high on the agenda of
    individual residents.

Directions

•   Use a public process to identify image features that residents associate
    with Bellevue. This process may use such techniques as telephone or
    mail surveys to identify features that people find important.

•   Build a branding campaign around these results. The campaign may be
    based on life-style considerations that represent a desirable image – such
    as Bellevue as a trendy place, a place especially suited to families, a place
    open for business, distinguished by its environment, or merging the past
    and future.

•   Saturate the community with images and features that reinforce the brand.
    This process should include an attractive city graphic image that is
    ubiquitous and visually identifies city facilities. This program should be
    used at city parks, other public properties, directional signage, gateways,
    and other places. Visually and attractively reinforce the sense that various
    parts of Bellevue are part of the same city. Powerful images include
    aerospace, environmental features, history, and a sense of the future.

•   Market branding features, such as personal goods, community events,
    and publications, that further reinforce community image and establish
    an esprit d’corps for the city.




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P A R T N E R S H I P A N D C O M M U N I T Y I N V O LV E M E N T



                                   Bellevue Future
PARTNERSHIPS AND COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT
Bellevue will develop a strong partnership between its public and private sectors, establishing an
identity of interest that gains access to local and regional funding resources. Bellevue will engage the
talents of its residents in the full range of volunteer activities needed to support the community and its
programs.




                           The Vision

                           •   A strong, enduring collaboration and identity of interest between city
                               government and the private sector.

                           •   Definition and implementation of a clear community agenda for major
                               enhancement efforts.

                           •   Substantial and reliable contributions to major community improvements
                               from local and metropolitan philanthropists.

                           •   A government structure that is most appropriate to Bellevue’s emerging
                               role as a large city.




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                                       P A R T N E R S H I P S A N D C O M M U N I T Y I N V O LV E M E N T
The Challenges

•   Despite substantial improvement, a still somewhat tentative partnership
    between public and private sectors.

•   With the exception of Fontenelle Forest and the Lifelong Learning Center,
    a relative lack of a well-organized, consensus-based community
    development agenda.

•   Middle class character, lacking large philanthropists or contributors, either
    individuals, corporations, or foundations, with a specific, focused stake
    in Bellevue.

•   Lack of a large keno or gambling “kitty” for community improvement
    financing.

•   Continuing controversies over the structure of city government, including
    such issues as the size of the City Council and the nature of the chief
    executive (city manager versus strong mayor).

•   Low property tax rate generally sized to fund basic services, providing
    little flexibility for major capital projects. Substantial dependence of sales
    taxes, creating uncertainty during periods of economic downtown. Little
    perceived tolerance for increasing property taxes to fund major projects.

•   In a community with relatively high mobility, difficulty by residents in
    knowing about community involvement opportunities or understanding
    the paths and structures of community service.

Directions

•   Maintain close, cooperative relationships between the City and the
    Chamber as the representative of the city’s business sector.

•   Establish a Bellevue Future capital agenda through this collaboration, using
    this plan as a tool. The agenda should provide a phased, long-term
    program of major capital projects, including:

    -   Public library facilities.
    -   Recreation center.
    -   Park development and enhancements.
    -   Riverfront development.

•   Include an allowance for general community enhancements –
    redevelopment, corridor enhancements, and community design. User this
    agenda as:

    -   A structure for bond issues with broad appeal to all population groups and
        geographic areas.
    -   A basis for an annual allocation to certain types of repetitive projects.
    -   Seed money to leverage and provide evidence of local efforts to generate
        additional contributions from major corporate and foundation sources.
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P A R T N E R S H I P S A N D C O M M U N I T Y I N V O LV E M E N T
                          •   Use this plan and the Bellevue Future agenda as basic tools in a joint public/
                              private awareness building approach to key private partners, including:

                              -   Major area foundations.
                              -   Corporate and private philanthropists in the metropolitan area.
                              -   Legacy contributors.
                              -   Local contributors.

                          •   Take maximum advantage of grant sources and potential financing
                              techniques.

                          •   Establish a study committee of highly credible, impartial citizens to develop
                              recommendations on the future form of Bellevue’s city government.

                          •   Establish a community volunteer clearinghouse, using print and electronic
                              media and techniques to publicize opportunities for voluntary
                              involvement, permit people to enroll for volunteer service and identify
                              applicable abilities , and match the skills or prospective volunteers with
                              opportunities.

                          •   Continue participation by emerging leaders in both public and private
                              sectors in local leadership development programs such as Leadership
                              Sarpy.




82
Bellevue Future




  IMPLEMENTING
  BELLEVUE’S FUTURE




                      83
IMPLEMENTING BELLEVUE’S FUTURE
               The Bellevue Future Plan defines an agenda for the future of the community,
               based on a year-long process of considering issues, discussing alternative
               futures, and considering the status of a rapidly growing city in a diverse
               metropolitan area. This work represents the contributions and insights of
               hundreds of people during this period. But in order for this plan to be more
               than a collection of ideas and the summary of a planning process, we must
               establish a structure to implement its recommendations.

               In many ways, this document resembles the outline of a musical score,
               presenting the melody line and the key themes. It will be the community
               itself that orchestrates and performs this score. Some of the plan’s
               recommendations are very specific and ambitious multi-year projects that, if
               fully implemented, can have a substantial effect on the nature of Bellevue.
               Others require very little capital, but a significant use of people resources.
               However, any community future plan, without careful management and
               unified action, can remain simply a collection of concepts and will never be
               transformed to reality. As a result, a process for management must be
               developed to assign priorities and be sure that the separate agencies are moving
               together toward the plan’s implementation. The intent of this section is to
               sketch the outline of this management process.

                   COMPONENT ONE: A PLAN MANAGEMENT STRUCTURE

               Implementation of the plan will require a management structure to help
               assemble partnerships and monitor the plan’s progress. This structure will
               help to unify efforts and assure that energy is focused on specific goals and
               accomplishments.

               This plan was sponsored by a partnership between the Bellevue Area Chamber
               of Commerce and the City of Bellevue. A Bellevue Future Steering Committee,
               with both the private and public sector representation, was organized to
               coordinate this planning process and may be the appropriate agency to carry
               out the plan management process. The management structure must continue
               to include key participants in both the public and private sectors, with members
               who are directly involved with project implementation. The Committee’s work
               should include:

               •   An initial, detailed review of the plan’s directions, establishing priorities
                   and specific responsibilities. In many ways, the management committee’s
                   hardest work begins with the completion of this agenda for the future.

               •   Assembly of the partnerships necessary to carry out priority projects.

               •   A semiannual review of progress made under the plan, using information
                   provided by the Issue Groups discussed below.

               •   An annual review and update of the plan, to assure that the plan’s directions
                   remain appropriate to community needs and resources.




84
                                                         IMPLEMENTING BELLEVUE’S FUTURE
It is essential that this management structure have ongoing, regularly funded
staff support for its implementation. We can say categorically that, without a
continuous presence to monitor the plan and put together the partnerships
and advocacy groups necessary to realize the vision, the plan will fall far
short of its potential. Therefore, we propose retaining a Bellevue Future
director, probably accommodated in the Chamber of Commerce to administer
the implementation phases of the planning process.

   COMPONENT TWO: ISSUE GROUPS

It is impossible for a single management group to remain connected to all the
organizations and individuals who might have activities related to the Bellevue
Future Plan. We recommend forming five initial Issue Groups, organized
around each of the issue areas presented in the plan. The Issue Groups,
composed of members with special expertise or involvement in the specific
area of concern, will assemble information for progress review and will help
to coordinate efforts by various agencies toward common ends. The Issue
Groups are an extension of the specialized working groups who were involved
in the preparation of this document.

In addition to providing information to the Management Committee, the Issue
Groups help to provide ongoing communications among line agencies and
organizations. This level of coordination will be particularly important because
of the complexity of many projects proposed in this document, requiring
extensive involvement by both the private and public sectors.

   COMPONENT THREE: THE BELLEVUE FUTURE FUND

While many of the concepts included in this plan do not require substantial
funding, others are capital-intensive. Financing and fund-raising for both
capital projects and operations are extremely difficult, particularly if the nation
is again entering a period of limited public and private resources. Nevertheless,
a variety of funding sources exist for various types of projects; and to a great
extent, substantial growth and quality of life investments can be self-
supporting in terms of increased investment, business, population, and
tourism.

Available programs do require a source of seed money, to be invested in the
community. The plan recommends creation of a Bellevue Future Fund,
expanding the existing community foundation concept to marshal substantial
resources toward community enhancement and development.

The Bellevue Future Fund should be structured to address both short- and
long-term needs and demands. The Fund may establish specific categories
for small, medium, large, and continuing projects. Continuing projects include
multi-year commitments to major community development initiatives. A
specific annual allocation should be established for these activities, based on
a financing program developed by project sponsors. Other funds may be
allocated to shorter-term efforts.



                                                                                      85
IMPLEMENTING BELLEVUE’S FUTURE
                  COMPONENT FOUR: THE PLAN AS A POLICY TOOL

               The community plan should serve as a policy-making tool for the various
               agencies that participated in its preparation. The plan should be integrated
               into the city’s capital improvement program and provide a basis for initiating
               new programs or continuing current effective policies. Similarly, the plan
               should help such organizations as the Bellevue Area Chamber of Commerce,
               form both short- and medium-term work programs.

               A key value of a well-maintained community plan is its ability to act as a
               rudder for the community development process, regardless of who might be
               steering the ship at any given time. Establishing agreed-upon values and
               goals is particularly important for long-term projects, which might cross the
               tenure of office of both elected officials and organizational executives.

               It is the hope of all who were involved in this planning
               process that this document is improved and
               embellished over time and becomes a guide to the
               growth of a great community in Bellevue.




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