News Flash! Downtown Needs Retail, Parking

June 27, 2007 at 12:30pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

Here’s a shocker: a study has shown that Downtown Lincoln needs more retail—specifically homegrown retail—and improved parking coordination. Raise your hand if you didn’t see that conclusion coming. Anybody? I didn’t think so.

I know there is a lot of cynicism surrounding the push to “renew” Downtown. (Why, did it expire?) Why mess with the hassle of going Downtown when there are so many more-accessible options elsewhere? Why pay for parking when you can get it free at the mall? And so on. The cynics make some good points. What many of them fail to realize, however, is just how popular the “back to Downtown” movement is all across the country. I was floored by how much new development was going on in downtown Des Moines when I was there this weekend. Omaha is just a couple years behind them. Similar development is happening in big and little cities everywhere. The market for this stuff is booming, and it would be a huge mistake for Lincoln not to take advantage of it, both at the public and private levels.

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The Comments

foxspit June 27, 2007 at 1:30pm

I think downtown Lincoln has a lot of potential if we could just keep local retail from leaving (Avante Card, Homer’s ...).

I’m pleased someone is talking about parking. I know I refuse to pay to park in a garage so I can go eat somewhere downtown unless I’m making an evening of it and can justify the expense. If I can’t find a parking spot, I just go somewhere else.

A downtown renewal is exciting to think about. I think we have plenty of bars and restaurants, maybe planners can somehow encourage a balance of those and retail.

I love the vibe we have in downtown Lincoln with the Haymarket and the rest of downtown. I think a concerted effort to revitalize downtown could be successful.

beerorkid June 27, 2007 at 2:09pm

I am a downtownian.  Live and work pert near.  I really do not enjoy parking downtown though.  I avoid the garages and circle.  I know I have mentioned it here before, but in KC in their major shopping district they have free parking garages.  It is really cool.

It is a bummer that places have to validate parking, there is no discount for the biz owners to purchase them.  I for one never ask for the sticker. 

I think our downtown is fine.  If it grows some more, gets some more cool shops I would enjoy that.  What a waste of $68k.

Diane K June 27, 2007 at 2:48pm

I agree that it was a waste of $68K to tell us what we already know.

As far as parking, it’s designed to “encourage” use of the parking garages. That’s what I was told years ago by the city when I noted the decrease in long-term parking meters.

foxspit June 27, 2007 at 3:08pm

Wow, $68,000!? Didn’t we just finish a Downtown Revitalization Plan a couple of years ago? How much more do we need to spend before we start using that money for developing downtown?

Neal June 27, 2007 at 6:30pm

The shocker in this story to me was that the people surveyed said they wanted to see a Target or Wal-Mart downtown!!??!?!!

foxspit June 27, 2007 at 7:17pm


Fletch June 27, 2007 at 11:30pm

I’ve seen a downtown Target work - it’s odd looking, but I can understand it. I think this was a waste of $68K - for that money, tell us something we don’t know. What’s next from the consultant… people need air and water to live? Smoking can be dangerous?

I think that we have too much a downtown-centric vision for Lincoln (this could aptly be stated in Mr. W’s other thread). I think there can be a downtown vision, and visions for other places - the I-80 corridor, the Highway 2 corridor, etc. It seems that too many people that are decision makers spend all their time downtown, and that’s their only focus. I am not one that thinks all development in Lincoln should occur east of 84th Street, so why should someone who works at city hall or the LJS (and I don’t mean Neal) think that the only place for anything in Lincoln is downtown?

hbrogan57 June 28, 2007 at 10:22am

Living in this town for years as I have. There has been numerous changes in the downtown area.  I remember YEARS ago that Sears, JC Penney, Montgomery Wards, Golds (Brandeis) all were in the downtown area.  The moved to Gateway and that seemed to be when all of this “downtown” talk began.  Not to say the least of the big “White Elephant” the Centrum building.  That was supposed to bring back businesses downtown.

We have had a lot of changes in the area.  Atrium, Miller & Paine building, etc. etc.  Businesses come and go.  They seem to all be offices now.  Mainly because people simply go other places to shop that have easier and better access.

Free parking???  Hell Yeah!!!!  That would be a MAJOR improvement.  Even if they just provide free street parking that would make a difference.

But yet the city is STILL willing to WASTE 68K for the SAME answers that they have received for YEARS!!!!

Still can’t understand why they continue to spend this kind of cash on something they already know.

Personally, I try and go somewhere else and shop.  Westfield (Gateway), SouthPoint, North 27th street.  A lot easier access, more shops, free parking.  AND I have to deal with a LOT fewer panhandlers.

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