As he gazed out over Civic Center Park, La Vista Mayor Doug Kindig spotted a family walking the trail and thanked them from coming.

The family responded by thanking the mayor and telling him how great this new amenity will be for them and La Vista.

"That's why you do this," Kindig said.

Kindig, the La Vista City Council, city staff members and dozens of residents were on hand for opening of the trail and fountain at Civic Center Park during a brief ceremony Tuesday night.

The 1/2 mile trail and fountain in one of the park's two lakes was another phase in a vision that began a decade ago for city leaders.

"This is a big day for La Vista," Kindig told those on hand. "In 2009, we hired a consultant and started to put together input from citizens and businesses and have them help form a vision for 84th Street. This park is a big part of that vision."

The park was the former home to La Vista Falls Golf Course. When the course closed in the fall of 2016, the transformation of Civic Center Park began to take shape. One of the lakes grew in size and the first of several walking trails was put in place. But it's just the beginning for a park that will take on an entirely different landscape in the coming years.

"This is just the first of many exciting things you will see here," Kindig said. "There will be a trail system, underpass project and a music venue. The vision will be very pleasing and something we will all be proud of."

Kindig said the opening of the park is another milestone event in the 84th Street redevelopment timeline.

"Things might not happen as fast as you'd like, but we're starting to see the fruits of our labor," Kindig said. "This park truly is a driving force behind the entire development. We will continue to follow the process for our next phase. We will continue to gather input from our citizens on what they want to see. It's not just me, or the council or our staff, it's our citizens that we want input from. We want them to know their ideas won't just sit on a shelf."

Laney Leeder and her three children were one of many families that got an early glimpse of the new trail. Leeder and her husband, Brandon, have been La Vista residents for 10 years and are excited to see progress being made.

"When Walmart left, as a resident, you don't want to see an area abandoned and empty," she said. "This is a great place for families to gather. We live close to the park so we always hoped there would be some kind of activity here. The city has delivered on its promises. There will be something for everyone."

Kindig said providing a place for families was the driving force behind the park renovation.

"You see people walking around and bringing their families," he said. "You have people that are neighbors, but might not know each other and this gives them a place to connect."

As 84th Street continues to develop, Kindig looks forward to what should be a very bright future for the city.

"When people cross southbound on Harrison Street, we want them to know they're in La Vista," he said.

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