A group of investors is aiming to make Linoma Beach and its famous lighthouse one of the metropolitan area's premier summer hot spots once again.
Chuck Niemeyer and four other investors — known as Linoma and Lighthouse LLC — recently paid $905,000 at a Sarpy County courthouse auction for the property.
“It's an absolutely beautiful site, and it's historically significant for both Lincoln and Omaha,” Niemeyer said Wednesday. “Our goal is to return Linoma Beach to what it was.”
Linoma Beach opened in 1926 on U.S. Highway 6, about halfway between Omaha and Lincoln. Its lighthouse is on the National Register of Historic Places.
In its heyday, the beach offered swimming in a 40-acre lake, trampolines, a beach shack for snacks, picnic areas, camping and a restaurant that boasted of the biggest, freshest lobster tails in Nebraska.
Niemeyer said Linoma Beach was open briefly this year but has closed for the season. The last listed owner of the property was Jody Beach.
Niemeyer said his group began the restoration process Tuesday by hauling away “a couple of truckloads of junk.”
People also climbed the winding wooden stairs to the top of the lighthouse, which he said will be fully restored. The work will go well beyond simply slapping on a new coat of paint.
“We'll need to form a game plan, but the lighthouse is a unique structure that needs a lot of work inside and out,” Niemeyer said.
“We do not have a time frame for all the improvements, but we know our first concern will be taking care of the 130 people who lease campground space at Linoma.”
If the swimming beach reopens to the public, it will not include any “toys,” such as the large inflatable icebergs or slides that former owners installed.
In 2005, the friends of an 18-year-old drowning victim said they thought he had been knocked unconscious by someone jumping off one of the floating icebergs.
“Those flotation devices are a big liability,” Niemeyer said. “If we do open the beach to the public, it will be just for swimming.”
He said there has already been some interest from outside the investment group in reopening the restaurant.
“I'd like to see the restaurant back in a year or two. It really did have the best lobster around.”
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