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Posted on: November 28, 2022

FIRST AVE Receives Laurels Award

First Ave

FIRST AVE received a Laurels Award from Omaha by Design for Access and Mobility. The Laurels Awards aim to recognize the people and projects that shape the metro in inspiring ways. The Access & Mobility Award recognizes an individual, group, organization, or business that has worked to enhance the way we move around the city and how its neighborhoods connect to one another. 

FIRST AVE is a former rail corridor vacated in 2013, located one block south of West Broadway. Roughly 60% of Council Bluffs residents live within one mile of this corridor. The West Broadway Corridor Plan (adopted July 2015) proposed transforming the former rail line into a multi-modal corridor featuring trails, transit, and redevelopment.

Construction of the FIRST AVE multi-use trail is nearing completion, and a grand opening will occur in the spring of 2023. FIRST AVE runs from 16th Street to 35th Street and presents a unique trail-user experience. Conducive to walking, biking, and micro-mobility options, trail amenities include lighting, landscaping, public spaces, and trail plazas, making the corridor a linear park, not just a trail. Trail plazas are fashioned with an industrial pallet inspired by the former rail line featuring shaded seating, open green spaces, and bicycle parking. The corridor was designed with the trail offset to the south, preserving a corridor for future transit.  

First Ave concepts also contain future redevelopment introducing various innovative and diverse opportunities for housing options, commercial prospects, and transit.

“We are grateful to have received a Laurels Award and appreciate the recognition of how FIRST AVE contributes to the Omaha-Council Bluffs metro,” said Council Bluffs Mayor Matt Walsh. “Our vision is a connected metro area with transit that seamlessly provides residents access between their homes, jobs, education, healthcare, and entertainment.” 

The FIRST AVE multi-use trail will connect Downtown Omaha to Downtown Council Bluffs. The City of Council Bluffs and the Iowa West Foundation have committed over $7 million to this project. Soon, FIRST AVE will be part of the Great American Rail Trail that spans from Washington, D.C., to Washington state.

The City of Council Bluffs has a podcast dedicated to FIRST AVE called On FIRST. The City’s Chief of Staff, Brandon Garrett, and Communications Officer, Ashley Kruse, co-host the show and interview a different expert on every episode. The most recent episode features soundbites from the Omaha by Design Laurels Award ceremony, including Garrett’s acceptance speech. On FIRST is available on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, and  

To learn more about the Laurels Awards, visit  To learn more about FIRST AVE visit

Council Bluffs Receives Laurels Award

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