The Threat of a County Arena

By: Mr. Wilson on August 22, 2008
I'm having a hard time getting worked up, as Mayor Beutler is, over the Lancaster County Agricultural Society's plans "to someday possibly build an arena" that might compete with the City's hoped-for arena in the Haymarket (which might someday possibly be built, if voters approve). Yeah, the multiple layers of hypotheticals hurt my head, too. Here are the basics. Mayor Beutler wants the City Council to block a 14-acre development near 84th and Havelock that would include a motel, restaurant, and similar businesses. The Ag Society thinks it would be easier to attract events if that sort of development were located near the Event Center. (They're probably right, though that sort of development is already oozing its way down 84th Street even without this particular project.) The Ag Society also, at some point, wants to build a smallish arena at the Event Center. The City is worried about a 6,000 seat arena competing with their plans in the Haymarket; the Ag Society says they're thinking more along the lines of 3,500 - 4,000 seats. The Mayor's thinking is that if the development is blocked, the arena is blocked (or at least slowed enough that the Haymarket plan can get off the ground first). To summarize: the Mayor wants to halt an economic development opportunity because it will attract future economic development opportunities that will distract people from his unapproved and still hypothetical pet project elsewhere in the city. That probably isn't fair. I can understand why Mayor Beutler is nervous. But he needs to understand that his view of the future of Lincoln isn't the only one out there. The Ag Society's plans are a win for Lincoln; Mayor Beutler's plans for the Haymarket are a win for Lincoln. That his instinct is to pit the two plans against one another rather than to pursue a way for them to work together is an example of poor leadership and narrow thinking. This doesn't need to be a matter of either/or. Lincoln can have both projects and see both of them succeed. Let's find a way to get there. Discuss.


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August 22, 2008 at 2:50PM

I concur. It’s not like they’ll just go out and be able to build an arena in the next 24 months, anyway. I think it looks kind of silly for Beutler to be all worked up. He should be wanting more arena talk, not less.

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