Making The Vision A Reality, One Piece At A Time.

We’re rolling up our sleeves every day, with one eye on the big picture and the other on the little details. Our role in all of this is to bring people together to solve problems and make the vision a reality. We research and compile data and then share our findings with the public. We organize task forces to study and tackle issues affecting the region. We facilitate dialogue among different elected officials and policymakers. And we seek out new ways, like our Close the Gap initiative, to engage the public and get everyday citizens involved in shaping a vibrant, healthy, prosperous community where we all want to live, work, and play.

In the summer of 2016, the Heartland 2050 Executive Committee endorsed the “Close the Gap” Plan as the project’s “big idea,” or primary focus area.

The Close the Gap Plan calls for creating vibrant places that are more livable and walkable, where people are better connected to jobs, education and other destinations through a robust regional transit network.

We’ve looked at success stories from other metro areas, where these types of investments have transformed local communities and yielded significant economic growth. We believe this model can have a similar impact on our metro region.

The plan has many applications.

We plan to Close the Gap:

  • On the lack of transportation access to jobs and education
  • In “Brain Drain” by attracting and retaining more local talent
  • Of significant racial and ethnic disparities in income and educational attainment
  • Between neighborhood nodes, town centers and corridors that are isolated and difficult to reach without a vehicle
  • Between infrastructure needs and available funding
  • In transportation, by increasing options for multi-modal transportation, such as walking, biking and public transit

Close the Gap Resources:

Robust Transportation

Securing regional funding will not only help us maintain and expand our infrastructure, but will provide more opportunities to reduce future congestion through new roads, transit, walking and biking trails.

Clustering residential, office, entertainment, and shopping in mixed use areas makes walking more attractive. Building in lets people live closer to work and spend less time in traffic. Demographic shifts mean that the demand for small lot, single family homes, townhomes, and multifamily housing will increase greatly over the next 30 years. A balanced mix of housing options will help people find places to live that they want and can afford.

Photo Credit: Thomas Jason Beverly

Photo Credit: Rachel Grace

Transit Closes the Gap Between Neighborhoods:

  • Vibrant, walkable areas improve the economy, increase civic engagement, and make people happier and healthier.
  • Job creators and talented workers gravitate to vibrant areas
  • A good public transit system is convenient, fast, and easy. You can show up knowing you’ll get where you need to be.
  • Good transit has an especially powerful impact on low-income families, providing access to education, jobs, and opportunity.

Nodes and Corridors

We are advocating an integrated approach to land use and transit that focuses development based on existing patterns in our region.


Nodes are areas where lots of stuff is happening close together. Neighborhoods with residential, shopping, restaurants and businesses likeBlackstone, Benson, 100 Block, Downtown Papillion, Plattesmouth Main Street, Glenwood Town Square, The Old Market, Dundee, Olde Towne, Midtown Crossing, are a few examples.

Our Goals With Nodes:

  • Encourage regulatory flexibility for development in nodes
  • Create best practices for infill development
  • Create opportunities for public and private partnerships for infill development
  • Encourage adaptive reuse, rehabilitation, and restoration of existing structures


Corridors are well traveled paths between nodes, connecting schools, hospitals, cultural centers, and businesses along the way.

Key Corridors Include:

East/West: Dodge-Farnam-Broadway, Center Street, and Maple Street
North/South: 24th Street and 72nd Street

Our Goals With Corridors:

  • Bus routes with fewer stops so you get where you’re going quickly, direct routes that are easy to understand, and shorter waits so you can use public transit without scheduling your whole day around it.
  • Complete streets that take into account all modes of transportation: buses, cars, bikes, and pedestrians.
  • New technology like Bus Rapid Transit systems with dedicated bus lanes and tickets instead of cash that will make public transit faster and more convenient