The Joint Antelope Valley Authority (JAVA) has announced that the Antelope Creek floodplain in central Lincoln will shrink from a width of about 1,700 feet to less than 200 feet. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has approved the floodplain map change, which means about 700 structures will no longer be in the floodplain, and flood insurance will no longer be required for projects in the area.
The change is the result of the Antelope Valley Project, a flood reduction project that included the construction of an open channel from Salt Creek Roadway to "J" Street. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers completed the channel construction last month. Antelope Creek had been channeled into an outdated underground conduit, which has been in service since about 1920.
The JAVA Partners – the City of Lincoln, the University of Nebraska - Lincoln and the Lower Platte South Natural Resources District (LPSNRD) – marked the milestone with a program today in the amphitheater of Union Plaza, a new park in the project area. The Antelope Valley Project, which also includes traffic improvements and community revitalization efforts, has been funded with City, State, NRD and federal funds. The celebration featured remarks by U.S. Senator Ben Nelson, who was praised by the JAVA partners for his work to secure federal funding for the project.
The effective date of the new floodplain map is October 8, 2010. FEMA posted a legal notice in the Lincoln Journal Star June 3 and a 90-day comment period will follow the second posting June 10. During that time, the public can request that FEMA reconsider the base flood elevations based on scientific or technical data. The comment period ends September 7. A second floodplain map change will be submitted to FEMA once additional projects are completed between 27th and South streets. When all improvements are completed from Salt Creek Roadway to Holmes Lake, the floodplain will include only the immediate channel area and a few low-lying areas on public property. A total of 400 acres will no longer be in the floodplain.
Antelope Valley traffic improvements include construction of 12 bridges and about six miles of roadway, including the "Big X" elevated intersection near the Devaney Sports Center. In addition to Union Plaza, revitalization efforts include construction of the new $50 million Assurity Life Insurance headquarters; several new housing projects; and infrastructure improvements in the residential neighborhoods. Turbine Flats, a business incubator providing low-cost space to entrepreneurs, is the first private research and development project in Antelope Valley, which is envisioned as a research and development corridor anchored by Innovation Campus to the north.
More information on the Antelope Valley Project is available at lincoln.ne.gov (keyword: antelope).
Comments on the Antelope Valley Project:
U.S. Senator Ben Nelson:
"Driving through the City of Lincoln, I have been struck by just how expansive the Antelope Valley project is and how important it is to the continued growth and development of the Capital City. It's not only beautiful, but it is practical and will result in economic development for the City."
Mayor Chris Beutler:
"The entire community can now see the major benefits of this investment in our community. The Antelope Valley Project has changed the face of central Lincoln in a way that will improve the quality of life for many future generations. This historic accomplishment could not have been achieved without strong partnerships like JAVA, strong leaders like Senator Nelson and outstanding community involvement over the last two decades."
UNL Chancellor Harvey Perlman:
"The Antelope Valley Project opens new opportunities for the University of Nebraska - Lincoln. More available land for research and teaching facilities means more opportunities to help Lincoln and the state expand on the educational and economic advantages offered by UNL. The project also improves campus access and provides new connections to City trails for students, faculty and staff."
Glenn Johnson, LPSNRD General Manager:
"The threat of flooding from the 100-year flood event or one more frequent has been eliminated for most of the properties and residents of the Antelope Creek floodplain by this innovative project. It is a real multi-purpose project in providing expanded recreation opportunities, and linear, green open space in the heart of the City, and serves to connect the City's trail network. The Corps of Engineers has been a great federal partner, and it couldn't have been done without the diligence of Senator Nelson in securing the funding each year."
Tom Henning, Chairman, President and CEO of Assurity Life Insurance Company:
"The plan to remove the Antelope Valley's floodplain designation was crucial to our decision to building The Assurity Center, our company's new home office building in that area. We are very appreciative of Senator Nelson's assistance in obtaining funding for the important work needed to effect this change.
"As a property owner in Antelope Valley, I am ecstatic at not having to pay flood insurance and not having to worry about flooding. I am excited to see the redevelopment going on adjacent to my property."