Council gives approval to Civic Plaza - News, Weather and Sports for Lincoln, NE;

Council gives approval to Civic Plaza

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By: Bill Schammert

After nearly a month of debate, the city of Lincoln will move forward with the Civic Plaza, including a public-private partnership on a controversial wall.

The rundown wall that borders Bison Witches will serve as the backdrop of the Civic Plaza on 13th and P Streets.

Overall the project will cost more than $3 million, but the city has pledged to pay for the first $85,000 of the wall's reconstruction cost.  This drew up controversy when some said the city was giving an unfair advantage to the building's owner and it's tenant, Bison Witches.

Bison Witches will also expand 800-square-feet into the Civic Plaza and build a sidewalk cafe.

Still, on Monday, the city council unanimously approved the funding.

"Having control of this wall, we control content and I'll be more confident taking my kids down there," councilwoman Leirion Gaylor Baird said.

The building's owner will pay for the remaining costs, and the first $50,000 of a canopy.  The city says it will pay for an additional $15,000 on the canopy if it demands it.

The city's $100,000 pledge comes from left over Keno money.

"There has been concern about the transient population and how they might use the Civic Plaza, and I think this will combat some of those issues," councilman Carl Eskridge said.

The Downtown Business Association also spoke in approval at Monday's meeting.

"This could very well be Lincoln's living room," DLA Chair, Bill Schmeekle, said.

Expect construction to start soon, with a completion date expected sometime next spring/summer.

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