More information on the Antelope Valley Project is available at http://www.lincoln.ne.gov (keyword: Antelope).
For more information about Union Plaza and the grand opening, visit http://www.parks.lincoln.ne.gov .
On Friday, the The Joint Antelope Valley Authority (JAVA) held a press conference at the Jayne Snyder Trails Center to announce the completion of Lincoln’s historic Antelope Valley Project.
The City of Lincoln, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and the Lower Platte South Natural Resources District (LPSNRD) formed JAVA in 2000 to administer the flood control, traffic improvement and community revitalization effort funded with City, State, NRD and federal funds.
The project has been successful in removing about 1,000 structures removed from the floodplain by creating an open waterway from Salt Creek Roadway to “J” Street. Traffic improvements include 12 new or replacement bridges, the elimination of railroad crossings, and 6.2 miles of new roadway including the “Big X” elevated intersection near the Devaney Sports Center. In addition to the new Union Plaza park and new trails, revitalization efforts include the new Assurity headquarters, Turbine Flats, several housing developments, the Jayne Snyder Trails Center, Fleming Fields and infrastructure improvements.
“What matters most is that a serious flood threat to a large area in the heart of the City has been eliminated, creating opportunities for economic development, public recreation, and green, open space,” said Glenn Johnson, LPSNRD General Manager.
Christine Jackson, UNL Vice Chancellor for Business and Finance said the project is benefiting the University in several ways. “Removing land from the floodplain allows us to continue the development of our campus,” she said. “The project has removed traffic from the core of our city campus, increasing safety in this heavily pedestrian area. We also have a new connection between city campus and Innovation Campus that will be even more important in the future.”
Mayor Chris Beutler said finding a solution to the multiple problems in the area required a “broad and bold vision.” When it began, the Antelope Valley Project was the biggest public works project in City history. “Two decades ago, this community came together to make a decision,” he said. “We could stand still, do nothing and let our historic core continue to deteriorate. Or we could move forward by adopting a can-do attitude, looking at what our City could be, and doing the hard work to reach our goals. By choosing action, we set Lincoln on a positive course for the future. That choice changed our City and set the stage for the accelerated progress we are seeing now.”
The partners thanked NRD board members, UNL administrators, past Mayors and current and past City Council members for their leadership on the project. Also recognized for their contributions were the Nebraska’s Congressional delegation; U.S. Army Corps of Engineers; the Federal Highway Administration; the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development; Lincoln’s delegation in the Unicameral; the Nebraska Departments of Road and Natural Resources; and the many private companies who worked on the project.
“From the beginning of the Antelope Valley Project, the very wise decision was made that citizen input was essential, that the development of the project would be a very open and public process,” Beutler said. “I hope all those who served on the JAVA Citizens Committee and the other advisory groups know how much their ideas and their time are appreciated. We would not be having this celebration today without their contributions and their belief in this project.”
The public is invited to celebrate the grand opening of Union Plaza at a celebration from 5 to 7:30 p.m. Thursday, September 13. Union Plaza is a new six-acre park spanning three blocks north of “O” Street developed as part of the Antelope Valley Project. The celebration is sponsored by the Lincoln Parks and Recreation Department, the Lincoln Parks Foundation and Union Bank, the lead donor for the park.
A program is planned for 6:30 p.m. in Dickinson Dinsmore Graf Amphitheater near 21st and “Q” street. It will include a musical collaboration featuring local choirs and choral groups and remarks from a Union Bank representative; Patty Pansing Brooks of the Lincoln Parks Foundation; and representatives of the three Antelope Valley Project partners – Mayor Chris Beutler; Glenn Johnson, General Manager of the Lower Platte South NRD; and Christine Jackson, UNL Vice Chancellor for Business and Finance.
The celebration also will include:
• Music from PanGea, Zanzoa and Mike Menard
• Ten local food trucks and food vendors
• Displays from the Lower Platte South NRD
• Eight family-oriented Discovery Quest stations with a prize drawing for those who complete the quest
Parking is available at Lincoln High School, Lewis Field and Elliott Elementary School, and StarTran will provide free shuttles from those locations to Union Plaza. Supervised bike corrals will be available at 21st and “O” streets and 21st and “Q” streets.
The rain date is Friday, Sept. 14.
A $4.75 million fundraising campaign for Union Plaza was managed by the Lincoln Parks Foundation. Campaign co-chairs were Beatrice Seacrest, Patty Pansing Brooks, TJ McDowell, and Roger Larson.