Nope, Nope, and Nope

By: Mr. Wilson on November 20, 2012
Mayor Chris Beutler said nope, nope, and nope to the three Pershing Center replacement proposals. His reason in all three cases: taxpayers would be on the hook for too much in each situation. I haven't evaluated any of the proposals in near enough detail to know for certain that Beutler made the right move here, but what I do know of his reasoning seems sound enough. He hasn't said no to any of the basic ideas. Rather, he has rejected the amount of taxpayer investment required through TIF, site preparation costs, ongoing expenses, and so forth. In other words, any of the proposals could still happen as long as the funding structure changes to something more palatable. So what does this mean? At this point it doesn't mean much of anything. We're still two years away from when the site will be available to developers so there is plenty of time to develop alternative proposals. And realistically it's not so awful if Pershing sits unoccupied for just a little while, giving us even more of a buffer. (We don't want a vacant Pershing for too long, of course. A vacant year won't devastate Downtown.) If anything, delaying any decision about Pershin's future may be a good thing, particularly if it becomes a private project instead of a public one. Why? Lincoln has a history of latching onto exciting projects early only to see the development wither (or die) by the time the "go" date is reached. Fall 2014 is a long time from now. Who knows what might happen to a developer during that time if we were to make a soft commitment today. The proposals on the table are still good ideas and any one of them could still happen. Hopefully next year at this time, while we're excited about the newly-opened Pinnacle Bank Arena, we're also excited about a new batch of proposals that are more taxpayer-friendly. Given the trajectory of Lincoln's economy and the continued pattern of growth Downtown, I don't see any reason why that couldn't happen.


See what your friends and neighbors have to say about this.

November 20, 2012 at 2:51PM

I’m surprised he chose to rebuke the Library Mafia.

Mr. T
November 21, 2012 at 12:36AM

Library Mafia? Are you against Big Bird too?

November 21, 2012 at 3:06PM

I love Sesame Street and Big Bird. But they don’t need my tax dollars to be successful like they did in 1972 when it was PBS and 3 networks.

I also love the Lincoln City Libraries. I’m a regular patron, as are all the members of my family. But I don’t think a $45 million dollar branch at the Pershing site is prudent.

November 21, 2012 at 3:23PM

It will be interesting to hear the response from the developers. Will they say that the city’s wants/hopes/dreams for the site simply aren’t financially feasible without such a high level of public funding? Or will they just scale back and try again? Or will they punt?

Share your thoughts with the community.

Commenting is no longer permitted on this post.