Bluestem Prairie Behind the Scenes: Greg Peterson, Former City Planner and Consultant
For more than 50 years, Greg Peterson has helped build beloved landmarks across Omaha as a City Planner and Consultant. CHI Arena and Convention Center, Union Pacific, First National Bank, Omaha World Herald and numerous other projects. These projects have left a transformative impact on our city.
For Greg’s next project, he wanted to give back and help make Omaha a stronger community.
What was Greg’s first reaction to hearing about Bluestem Prairie?
Bluestem Prairie will be an innovative redevelopment at the former site of the Wintergreen Apartments. The almost 19-acre location near 51st Street and Sorensen Parkway has sat vacant for 15 years since the apartments were vacated and demolished by the City of Omaha. This previously neglected and empty site will become a brand new multi-generational community of 100 homes.
A new park and bike and walking paths will connect the neighborhood to surrounding community assets such as Nelson Mandela School, Miller Park and the Fort Omaha campus of Metropolitan Community College.
“This project is a huge gamechanger for the organization, a really, really big deal. To take a project from the absolute beginning and be responsible for streets, sewers, water, electricity, gas, cable, paving, street lights, parks and a series of more contemporary thinking architecture for the homes. It will just be so big, different and successful,” Greg says.
Greg was first introduced to Habitat for Humanity when working with Lawn Smith & Co. in Iowa. While working with Lawn Smith, he saw them assist Habitat with laying foundations, working on driveways and other projects for Habitat homes. This is also where he met Habitat Omaha’s Director of Construction, Drew Lier.
After finding out the former Wintergreen Apartment site was available for purchase, Drew asked Greg if he would volunteer to work on the request proposals for the redevelopment of the site for the city and other aspects of the project. Greg was on board to volunteer.
Habitat Omaha staff worked closely with Greg on these request proposals for the city. Dan Brewer, Habitat Omaha’s Land Acquisition Manager, worked closely with Greg on the proposal. Greg’s knowledge as a landscape architect provided Drew with guidance on navigating landscaping issues on the site. After weeks of working on the project, Habitat Omaha’s proposal to the City of Omaha was accepted on March 17, 2021.
Greg is now excited to see the former Wintergreen Apartment site become a property that helps bring new opportunities to our community. For Greg, working with the Habitat Omaha team in the early stages of this project was a joy. Warm, real and caring were adjectives used to describe what working with Habitat Omaha’s team was like, and he felt that same spirit with all the Habitat Omaha staff he encountered.