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City of Lincoln
Mayor's Office

2005 Media Releases

May 11, 2005
For More Information Contact:
Wynn Hjermstad, Urban Development Dept., 441-8211
Ernie Castillo, Urban Development Dept., 441-7855

Seng Announces Federal Grant To Help With 48th and "O" Redevelopment

Mayor Coleen J. Seng announced Tuesday that the City has received a $128,200 federal grant to assess the need for environmental cleanup at the 48th and “O” street redevelopment area.

The redevelopment area once was the location of several auto dealerships and related businesses. The City sought a federal grant to determine whether there is contamination remaining from these auto-related businesses that could find their way into the soil and groundwater.

“This is great news for the heart of our community,” Mayor Seng said. “The support from this grant will help Lincoln rebuild this area as a thriving center of jobs and commerce.”

The grant is from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Brownfields Program. Brownfields are properties where redevelopment or reuse of the land may be complicated by the presence or potential presence of a hazardous substance, pollutant or contaminant.

Lincoln will use the funds to conduct site assessments and develop a plan for cleaning up any contaminants. Lincoln was the only Nebraska community to receive one of the grants announced nationwide on Tuesday. This is the first EPA Brownfields assessment grant Lincoln has won.

Just two weeks ago, a citizen review committee appointed by Seng began studying three proposals for redeveloping the area of 48th and “O” streets; two proposals for the north side and one for the south.

After the committee evaluated the proposals, Mayor Seng directed city staff to begin negotiating a redevelopment agreement for the proposal submitted for the south side of 48th and “O” by West Gate Bank, Runza National Inc. and Village Development Inc. Those meetings already have begun, Seng said Tuesday.

Meanwhile, the citizen review committee decided to interview representatives of the two proposals for the north side. The two proposals are from the Seacrest and Kalkowski law firm for Pinnacle Bank, McCombs Commercial Realty and Hy-Vee; and the DESCO Group of St. Louis. Those interviews will take place soon, Seng said.

“The busy corner of 48th and ‘O’ is right in the middle of Lincoln, and yet it has become one of Lincoln’s most unproductive locations,” Seng said. “We have to do something about it, and I am glad we were successful in obtaining this federal assistance to help make that happen.”

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