Arena Wednesdays

In an effort to provide our listeners with actual facts (as opposed to blatant misinformation) regarding the West Haymarket Arena vote upon which they can base their decision, tomorrow we’re kicking off our “Arena Wednesday” series.  Each Wednesday between now and the election we’re going to take one issue related to the arena discussion and examine it in-depth with experts, advocates from both sides, and of course, your calls and emails. 

We’re going to start tomorrow with an examination of the relationship between the proposed Lincoln arena and Qwest Center Omaha.  We’ll talk to Qwest Center CEO Roger Dixon and ask him to clarify what seem to be inconsistent facts cited by people on each side of the arena debate as to the financial success or lack thereof of the Omaha venue.  We’ll also find out what Roger thinks about the potential coexistence or competition between venues in both Lincoln and Omaha. 

Here’s what’s on the slate for the following Wednesdays:

1)    On Solid Ground? (Early April)

How polluted is the soil under those railroad tracks?  How much will it cost to remove the bad soil?  Is the city covered if the price tag exceeds the budget?

2)    Future of Pershing & Devaney (March 17)

What will become of Pershing Center if a new arena is built?  What use will Devaney Center have?

2)    Parking & access to new arena (date TBA)

Is there enough parking for 16,000 patrons?  What about access to the already crowded Haymarket before and after events?

3)    Location, location, location (date TBA)

Why is the Haymarket the choice?  Couldn’t the arena work in a less congested area?  Does it need to be downtown?

4)    The financial question (date TBA)

Can Lincoln afford the financing?  Why are we voting on $24 million dollars of a $344 million dollar project?  How conservative are the revenue projections?  What hit will this have on property taxes if the projections aren’t met?

5)    Beyond the arena (date TBA)

Will we have empty storefronts south of the arena?  What about a hotel?  What is the ice center and how much will it impact the overall project?

If you’ve got any additional issues you’d like us to examine or have any suggestions for interviews on any of these subjects, feel free to chime in.

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4 Responses to Arena Wednesdays

  1. Rick DeVere says:

    I am writing to you as a former listener, something I decided just recently. As someone as yet undecided about the arena project I have been trying to find information regarding this subject from all sources I can find. Your program was one of them. But I get tired of your apparent necessity to make fun of people that don’t believe as you do by calling them AreNos. This is too junior high for my blood and will not be listening to your broadcasts in the future.

  2. jackm1400 says:

    I sent this email to Mr. DeVere:

    Richard: I don’t find “Arenos” a particularly disparaging name. Its existence actually came out of necessity as the group went several weeks before picking a name, so we had a hard time knowing how to refer to them on air. We actually thought they may use that name, given that it’s kind of catchy and isn’t particularly negative. Their actual name is now “no2Arena”, which is not materially different than than our shorthand “arenos”. I find that to be fairly harmless and maybe slightly humorous. Hopefully you’ll come to that conclusion too, but I won’t ever promise that we won’t have fun with news stories and occasionally call out people and groups that we believe are in the wrong. Having spoken with some in the “no2arena” group, and knowing some of their leaders, I’m pretty concerned that they’re leading folks to vote against the arena based on flat out misinformation. If people want to vote against it, that’s fine, but I hope they do so based on accurate information. There seems to be a shortage of that amongst the no2arena group and several Lincoln Journal Star stories. I’m a talk radio host, not a news reporter, so I will continue to critically analyze this group’s position until they’ll answer some of the questions that I’m posing to them. They’ve been squeamish about coming on the air, despite invites I’ve extended.

    In the end, I firmly believe that the term “arenos” is neither mal-intentioned nor actually damaging to the group. I would guess my criticism particularly about their theories regarding the city’s environmental remediation contractor has more significantly damaged the group. In any case, I hope you’ll agree that the “areNos” name doesn’t particularly disparage the group (although my comments about them do, based upon their comments and actions), but I’ve realized in doing this job that everyone won’t see issues the same way I will. Whatever your choice, thanks for your time listening.

  3. Kent says:

    It should be mentioned that the City of Lincoln has never had to resort to a property tax hike to prop up revenues from a general obligation bond. Source: Don Herz’s office. While the arena opposition can still argue this undertaking is unique and of a larger scale than what has been accomplished in the past, it would seem that it would be a little harder to dismiss the city’s conclusion and that of outside experts that cash flows will be more than adequate to finance the debt and the modeling is conservative.

  4. Gus says:

    Who are you kidding concerning the parking and traffic? What I heard today was that the Haymarket Park lots would be used along with a new 1,300 car surface lot for primary parking for the arena. All of this traffic will be funneled out ONE exit onto Sun valley. We can’t exit just baseball traffic efficiently right now. How do you think we can add 1,300 more cars to the same exit without total gridlock???? We will need to open Charleston Street to 10th Street to post event traffic to make this work. The city will have to have officers directing traffic at mulitple intersections to begin to be able to make this plan work. In addition, if there are multiple events in the Haymarket area parking will be impossible. Shuttles??? Who pays for those???

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