City of Lincoln
2007 Media Releases
The West Haymarket Action Team (WHAT) is inviting the public to open houses Thursday, October 18, to find out more about the concept of an arena in the West Haymarket area. Those interested can choose from two sessions, both at the Pershing Center: 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. or 5 to 7 p.m.
WHAT tri-chairs are Mayor Chris Beutler, Chamber of Commerce President Wendy Birdsall and Cori Sampson Vokoum of Sampson Construction Company. They are leading an effort to explore the replacement of the 50-year-old Pershing Center with a new public arena west of the downtown Haymarket area. The concept also could include a new convention center and hotel. The improvements are expected to generate additional entertainment, commercial, trade and residential opportunities in the area. (Background information is provided at end of release.)
The purpose of the open houses is to provide information and take comments on the concept before the City Council’s consideration of a redevelopment plan for the area. Both open houses will include:
Leadership Lincoln will provide volunteers to accompany the tours, facilitate briefings and question/answer sessions and encourage public input and comments. Pershing Center will have a concession stand open to the public.
For more information on the open houses or the West Haymarket Action Team, contact Kent Morgan in Planning at 441-7491. More information on WHAT also is available on the City Web site, lincoln.ne.gov (keyword: WHAT).
The 2015 Vision group is promoting ten potential pillars or projects that will move Lincoln forward in a public-private partnership model. The goal is to provide new quality jobs and retain young people in Lincoln. One of the pillars is the construction of the West Haymarket Arena to provide current and future generations with quality entertainment and recreation – the same kinds of experiences Pershing Center has provided because of commitments made by the community more than 50 years ago. The potential arena site encompasses the rail yards just west of the historic Lincoln Station, extending north to Haymarket Park and south across “O” Street. The goal is to preserve the spirit and atmosphere that now exists in the historic Haymarket and to lay the cornerstone for future economic, tourist, entertainment and recreational opportunities.
Mayor Beutler and 2015 Vision jointly created WHAT to better define the arena vision and to work on its potential implementation. The 16-member committee began meeting last spring. WHAT includes elected officials, taxpayers, private business owners, neighborhood groups, the Chamber of Commerce, the Downtown Lincoln Association, the University of Nebraska and other nonprofit organizations.
WHAT is following a seven-step redevelopment process that has been used successfully here in Lincoln and elsewhere across the country.
STEP ONE: Preliminary Community Validation
As part of these studies, numerous citizen groups explored the need for a new arena and identified the West Haymarket area as the best location.
STEP TWO: Redevelopment Plan
If the City Council adopts the redevelopment plan amendment, the next five potential steps in the process are: