City council hears testimony on 14th & Warlick delay, gun ordinance

LINCOLN, Neb. Construction on the 14th and Warlick roundabout is slated to start sometime next year.

The project’s been in the works for years now. It’s once again facing a delay by a council member.

It was one of a few big items city council members heard about in a meeting on Monday.

Much of the testimony was about a proposed delay of construction on the elevated roundabout with an estimated price tag now of about $36 million.

“City officials, you have the responsibility to be fiscally responsible with taxpayer dollars moving forward with this project without giving full consideration to alternatives is not being fiscally responsible,” said Scott Lois, who is for the delay.

The project has been in the Capitol Improvement Project fund since 2012; the city released the design in 2015. That year council members approved a budget of $10 million.

In 2018, the city estimated the cost to be $30 million but the city still needs to take construction bids.

The plan now is to push it back another five years.

“It is quite possible that it is going to go way over bid, we understand that but putting it off does not accomplish anything as far as I’m concerned,” said another testifier who is against the delay.

Council member Richard Meginnis introduced the plan and instead would use the money to fix Lincoln roads.

“Delaying the one project and addressing the street repairs for the whole of Lincoln immediately would better serve neighborhoods and local businesses,” said Dana Stefanidis who is for the delay.

The second topic: a proposed change of a gun ordinance which would now require firearms to be locked in glove box, trunk or other compartment attached to the vehicle.

“Recognizing that this is a serious issue the safety of Lincoln resident and teenage thieves are an ongoing problem,” said Greg Loddick of Lincoln.

Many testifiers who use their guns for recreational purposes like trap shooting and hunting voiced concerns about out-of-state competitors and teenagers having to abide by the changes.

Others say it criminalizes gun owners.

“I would ask you to consider taking off the part about long guns on this because I think it will hurt many hunters,” said Roy Raymond of Lincoln.

The gun ordinance is set to have its final reading and vote at the next meeting.

The vote on the possibility to delay construction on the 14th and Warlick project was delayed two weeks, until November 4th.