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2005 Media Releases

April 28, 2005
For More Information Contact:
Mark Bowen, Mayor’s Chief of Staff, 441-7511

Mayor Seng Calls For Coordination Of Event Facilities Proposals
Mayor says community “can’t afford duplication”

Mayor Coleen Seng today said with several ideas circulating about possible convention facilities, she will call a meeting of event facility venues to coordinate discussion of the proposals to prevent duplication and focus on market needs.

“In light of the community’s limited financial resources, the lack of coordination between these separate venues speaks to the need to create a focused vision for the future. We need a single community vision for a new convention center and arena,” Seng said. “I will be inviting leaders who represent each of these venues to join me in charting a course for our future.”

Seng said, “To remain competitive, Lincoln needs a new arena and more quality convention space. If any doubt remained, it should have vanished when the state wrestling tournament left Lincoln because Pershing and the Devaney Center no longer meet the needs.”

On May 18, the Planning Commission will consider the Lancaster County Agricultural Society’s request to re-zone land at the Lancaster Event Center for commercial development. The Agricultural Society has indicated this would be a first step toward building an arena and another pavilion.

Seng said she will ask the Planning Commission to place the Ag Society proposal on pending following its public hearing in order to have the coordinated discussion regarding all the proposals.

Recently, a group that includes private business people and the City has been exploring John Q. Hammons’ offer to partner with the City on a future facility that could replace Pershing Center and create the additional convention. The Convention, Sports and Leisure study released in December urged Lincoln to add convention space and to replace Pershing Center.

Meanwhile, State Fair Park, which the State of Nebraska owns, also is developing plans for its future that must be considered.

“Before any action is taken on the Event Center request, a unified community discussion must occur to determine how all these facilities would complement or compete with each other in the long run. We can’t afford not to have this discussion,” Seng said.

Pershing Center is owned by the City. The Lancaster Event Center is owned by the Lancaster County Agricultural Society. State Fair Park is owned by the State of Nebraska and home to the Devaney Center, which is part of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

”I support the Comprehensive Plan. But most importantly, Lincoln needs to prevent duplication. Working together, we must make the most of our limited public resources to ensure success. Pursuing different strategies without regard to the impact on other facilities may well result in failure,” Seng said.

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