Does downtown Lincoln need a Promenade?  Is it a wise use of city resources and TIF money?  The money would fund the design and implementation of a proposed streetscape plan along M Street from 7th to 17th Street in downtown Lincoln.

The Lincoln Independent Business Association (LIBA) is concerned about using some of the leftover TIF funds from the Star Building.

The TIF funds amount to $400,000 with $50,000 pending. On March 23, 2011, the Lincoln Journal Star reported that the city would receive $56,000 if it did not spend the $450,000. LIBA encouraged the Council to remember that TIF funds are essentially taxpayer monies for economic development and improvement of the cities blighted areas. TIF is not meant to pay for development designs that may never come to fruition, which is the danger the city faces with the idea of an M Street Promenade. Such a proposition would be a waste of taxpayer money and bad use of a good tool (taking away downtown parking and spending more to build more parking, no identified money source after a design is provided, insufficient time to design and construct with leftover TIF funds).

An additional issue is that the city has not identified a source for the $4 million needed to complete the Promenade after the $400,000 TIF investment is made.

LIBA requested that the city take some time to see if there are practical start-to-finish improvements that can be made on M Street. They are going to do just that!

We commend the city staff, particularly Urban Development Director Dave Landis, and the City Council for postponing this action.  Yes, the Promenade is part of the Downtown Master Plan.  However, the city recognized that the 2005 Master Plan recommended that the City conduct an update to the plan every five years.  That update has not been done.  The Master Plan says the city should take into account development changes which may have a material impact on elements of the plan itself.

Again, thank you to city staff and the City Council for delaying this action and setting aside time in the future to bring in members of the community to decide if this is still a wise use of our TIF dollars.  If it is not a sound project, the remainder of the funds should be distributed to the taxing entities to provide some relief at a time when relief is needed.

LIBA would like to welcome the following new members:

Dean Phelps • 6 To 6 Auto Service, Inc.

Richard Agee • Agee’s Automotive Repair

R.Samuel Bryant, M.D. • Bryant Cosmetic Surgery

Christine Campbell, D.D.S. • Christine Campbell, D.D.S. P.C.

Bruce E Peterson • Electronic Contracting Company

Kip Buffington • Freeway Muffler

Steve Schmidt • Frontier Bank

Gerit Schell • Gale Breed State Farm Agency

Jeff Tudor • Med Express

Timothy Geis • Prime Riggin, LLC

Randall Ritnour • Ritnour, Payne & Coon LLP

Libby Raetz • Saint Elizabeth Regional Medical Center

David Hilligoss • Sign Pro of Lincoln, Inc

Vinnie Krikac • State Farm

Sanjay Garapati    • Swimtastic Swim School

Jamie Schack • Texas Roadhouse

Jorena & John Larsen • The Press Box

Bruce Von Busch • Von Busch & Sons Refuse

Randy Tvrdik • Waddell & Reed

If you are not a member of LIBA we would like to add your voice to our organization.  Business memberships are under $250 a year and individuals who believe in a conservative approach to government are also encouraged to join for only $100.

by Coby Mach, President & CEO
Lincoln Independent Business Association (LIBA)

LIBA studies and promotes these types of issues that are important to businesses and
our community.  If you have an interest in joining LIBA, please call me at 402-466-3419.