The Challenge: Johnson Park in Norfolk, Nebraska, once was the heart of the city. The park is directly connected to North Fork waterway, a channel of the Elkhorn River that used to power the city’s hydro-plant. For over 40 years, the city and its residents wanted to revitalize the park and turn it into a community destination.
The Solution: The city hired our Planning team, Riverwise Engineering, and Big Muddy Workshop to investigate the park’s issues and develop a plan to resolve them and reinvigorate the area. After hosting robust public meetings and conducting site visits, we wrote a Master Plan for Johnson Park, with the ultimate goal of restoring its connection to the river. The plan prioritizes ADA-accessible playground equipment, a new trailhead, additional parking, and the transformation of the North Fork into an interactive white-water park with rapids and staged drops.
Project Benefits: Through our Planning and Community Engagement teams’ concerted effort to listen to the voices of Norfolk residents, and incorporate their wants into the Johnson Park Master Plan, the plan reemphasizes what Norfolk residents love about their city: a commitment to shared public spaces that build community. With an improved park and new white-water park, Johnson Park and Norfolk will come to be recognized state-wide as a leader in innovative recreational amenities, drawing more people to the area, increasing commerce, and boosting the city’s economy.