A stretch of downtown Lincoln sidewalk gets a makeover | local government

Sidewalks and curbs along a stretch of 14th Street in downtown Lincoln are getting a facelift, improvements that will be paid for with tax increase funding from a 14-year-old project year.

City council recently approved a resolution to extend TIF — a financing tool that allows future property taxes generated by redevelopment to pay certain costs — on a project first approved in 2008.

Next, the city authorized $764,000 in TIF for the Lincoln Flats/Bank of the West project to renovate a commercial building at 1314 O St. into first-floor commercial space and 24 condominiums. Lincoln Flats opened in 2013.

At the time, the city was more conservative in its use of TIF, in part because the city often held the notes on the loans, said Hallie Salem, redevelopment manager for the city’s urban development department.

Changes to how funding is set up and how future redevelopments are calculated now allow the developer to take on more risk, so city development directors asked – and city council approved – to allow up to $500,000 in additional TIFs.

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Council members Richard Meginnis and James Michael Bowers voted against the proposal. Meginnis said he viewed the move as a “money grab” by the city for something it didn’t need before. He said he didn’t pass the “but for” test – but for the money, the project wouldn’t happen.

Salem said she understands Meginnis’ concerns, but said streetscapes were identified early on in the Lincoln Flats project, but because the city was trying to be conservative, removed those improvements from the list. priorities.

Now the money will be used to improve the sidewalk and curbs on the west side of 14th Street along the University Square parking garage. The ground floor of the garage was once a drive-thru for Bank of the West, but is now used for parking.

A developer plans to turn this first-floor parking lot into commercial space, and the city’s sidewalk upgrades would go along with it, Salem said.

Further streetscape improvements could be made to the exterior of condominiums along the north side of O Street between 13th and 14th Streets and one lane north of Lincoln Flats.

In more general terms, the improvements are part of the Downtown Core Corridor Project, an ambitious project to revitalize the main entrances and streetscapes of the downtown core. Part of that is creating a music district, which will likely involve this stretch of 14th Street.

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Apartments planned as part of O Street redevelopment in Lincoln

Contact the writer at 402-473-7226 or [email protected]

On Twitter @LJSreist

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