Carol Van Metre Lane

A street sign marks the start of Carol Van Metre Lane at 24th Street and Woolworth Avenue in Omaha. The city renamed the street for Van Metre, a former teacher and philanthropist who died in June 2016, on Wednesday.

The City of Omaha ceremonially renamed a street Wednesday in honor of the late Carol Van Metre, a friend of the children of Omaha.

Carol Van Metre Lane winds east from 24th Street at Woolworth Avenue. It leads to Columbus Park, the Columbus Community Center, and Van Metre Field, which is named for Carol’s husband, Dave.

The Omaha City Council approved the renaming in February. Omaha City Parks Director Brook Bench and contractor Joe Smejkal unveiled the street sign quietly on Wednesday, eschewing the usual festivity and speechifying of such occasions, due to family wishes.

Bench said Dave Van Metre was very grateful for the acknowledgment of his wife.

Carol Van Metre, a Denver native and former teacher who lived in Omaha for 50 years, helped her husband raise money for and facilitate more than $35 million in sports-related projects. She wanted girls to have facilities as good as boys’, and children in Omaha’s older, eastern neighborhoods to have places to play and learn that are as good as those in newer parts of the city.

Their projects have included Benson’s Gallagher Park softball fields, Central High’s Seemann Stadium, South High’s Collin Stadium, Brown Park baseball field and Christie Heights Community Center and ballfields.

They also worked on the softball field at Columbus Park, now home to Central High School’s softball team.

Carol Van Metre died last June. She and her husband had moved to Colorado, but remained connected to Omaha, and he still does.

“Carol Van Metre Lane now leads into Dave Van Metre Field, and isn’t that perfect,” Bench said.

Bench, who applied for the street renaming, said it is “in honor of all that the Van Metres have done for the Parks Department and all the kids of Omaha.”

Dave Van Metre said after the City Council action in February that it was philanthropic foundations that made the work possible. He said Carol would not have wanted the attention but he appreciates it.

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Chris Burbach covers the Douglas County Board, Planning Board and other local government bodies, as well as local neighborhood issues. Follow him on Twitter @chrisburbach. Phone: 402-444-1057.

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