Debate over Civic Plaza Project continues in City Council - News, Weather and Sports for Lincoln, NE;

Debate over Civic Plaza Project continues in City Council

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By: Jenn Schanz

The project would transform the lot at 13th and P into a Civic Plaza.

In an agreement between the city and the building owners, the plaza would include a large art sculpture in the middle and be used as a public gathering and event space.

But there's an added bonus for the building's first floor business.

If the agreement goes through, BisonWitches will expand with an outdoor sidewalk cafe.

The city will fund the majority of the wall's repair, just more than $85,000.

They've also agreed to pitch in up to $15,000  for the cafe's canopy.

But not everyone's onboard.

 "To justify this expense, city officials have said this benefits the community. This is an overstatement," says Jane Kinsey of Watchdogs of Lincoln Government.

Some say BisonWitches is getting an advantage with taxpayer dollars that could be going toward city and school budgets.

"Make it a beautiful place where people can relax and enjoy each others company and enjoy the businesses around there, but don't give that one business a particular edge over everybody else," says Ken Gobber of Lincoln.

Those in support of the project say the structural stability of the wall, and the public draw to the area benefits the masses.

"We spent a long time negotiating this agreement, there was a lot of back and forth between both sides and I think the resulting project for both the plaza and building are an improvement over what's there today," says Peter Katt, representing the building owners, 1320 P LLC.

The entire civic plaza project will cost more than 3 million to complete. If approved, wall reconstruction will be first on the list.

City Council will vote on the issue Monday, July 22nd.

If approved,  they hope to have the project complete by next May.

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