Public hearing on $11.7 million sports facility

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LINCOLN, Neb. -- Lincoln City Council held a public hearing on the Lincoln Sports Facility Redevelopment Project. The plan would transform vacant land in southwest Lincoln into a sports complex with parking and room for retail space.

Just south of West O Street and Southwest 14th Place sit five parcels of empty land. That space could become 78,500 square feet of space with eight basketball courts, 12 volleyball courts and 5,000 square feet of training space.

Attorney for Lincoln Sports Facility, LLC, Tom Huston said, "Because of the demand of youth sports within the city of Lincoln...because of practice times, game times and tournament times and the proliferation of youth sports."

Plans show the project would be built in two phases. First, the large sports complex building to meet the demand for more courts in Lincoln. Then, a 20,000-square-foot retail building with parking to strengthen business in that part of town.

"It's intended that this facility would be used 12 months of the year though because of the demand and the need for additional court time within the city of Lincoln," Huston said.

Both phases of the project will cost about $11.7 million. City documents show about $1.38 million coming from tax increment financing, and the rest would be privately funded because it would be privately owned and operated. That's also why some are opposed.

One person said he was concerned about youth safety, while another said the complex would attract more business at work.

Huston said they hope to have construction started this spring and be done by the end of the year.