Note: This is the first in an occasional series of articles that will look at the proposed riverfront development project currently being discussed by the University of Nebraska, Lincoln, and the Community Prosperity Initiative.

Nebraska City residents will have two upcoming opportunities to comment on a riverfront development project currently underway between University of Nebraska, Lincoln, students and members of the Community Prosperity Initative's Tourism, Recreation, Arts and Trails (TART) focus group.

The first opportunity will be during the upcoming free community picnic on Sunday, June 10, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Wildwood Park. Focus group members will be on hand to discuss the project, and maps will be on display to give residents an idea of the project's scope.

The second opportunity will be a community meeting that has been set for Tuesday, Aug. 28, at the Rowe Public Safety Complex from 6 to 8 p.m.

Architecture and landscape architecture students from UNL will meet with members of the focus group and the public to discuss the project in detail. The students will work on the project during the fall semester and prepare a development plan for the town's riverfront.

Focus group members met with two UNL representatives, architect and lecturer Emily Andersen and professor of landscape architecture Kim Wilson, to set project parameters on May 25 during a meeting at the Kimmel Education and Research Center.

The project plan will focus on the riverfront from just north of the Riverview Nature Park south to the Steamboat Trace and the Missouri River Basin Lewis and Clark Center.

Wilson said she sees potential in developing the Nebraska City riverfront.

“There's a huge amount of potential,” she said. “The town's main street is thriving in ways we've not seen elsewhere. This could be a really great project.”

Wilson added that Nebraska City has been closely tied to the Missouri River since its found but that the town seems to have lost its connection and perhaps some of its history.

Topics discussed during the May 25 meeting included Riverview Marina boat dock usage, the changing status of the Riverview Nature Park, where to place a trail to connect Riverview Marina to the end of Central Avenue, ways to bring people down to the river, and possible other uses for the Steinhart Terminal.

“Gentrification is not our thing,” said Andersen of the project. “It's way more interesting if the project has mixed uses.”