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Public meeting to discuss Civic Auditorium redevelopment Monday

Posted at 1:02 PM, May 21, 2018
and last updated 2018-05-21 18:15:50-04

Months after property group Tetrad pulled out of redeveloping the old Civic Auditorium site, the plot of land still sits empty with no plans in place yet. 

One group, Omaha Public Meetings, is holding a get together to discuss the site. They argue the City has not engaged residents enough for the development of the land. 

"If we're going to offer 50 million dollars in TIF and 30 million dollars in parking garage and 10 million dollars in free land or whatever we're going to offer, I think that the residents of Omaha should have some say into what goes on here," said Brian Smith, founder of Omaha Public Meetings. 

Smith said one idea he's heard from people is to divide the property up, "One of the questions that keeps coming up is why don't we split this up into four blocks, it's come up from multiple different people and that's just how it originally was developed."

There will be a presentation from Mode Shift Omaha, which has been gathering land use input from the public. 

The City claims they have done their due diligence in selecting Tetrad at the time because they reached out to different stakeholders before developing a plan. 

In March, Tetrad said some of those obstacles in developing the project include the delay in the demolition of the Civic Auditorium, other property developments in the area by the City, an inability to reach an agreement with the City on business terms and Conagra relocating. 

Mayor Jean Stothert sent this message to the Omaha City Council on Thursday, "Council members - we are in the process of writing an RFP for a consultant to do another market study on the Civic Auditorium site.  A lot has changed since the last market study.  (Riverfront revitalization, ConAgra, Capitol District, downtown housing, etc). Included in the request - will be for the consultant to organize many opportunities for meetings and public engagement.  This will include residents, downtown business, developers, Chamber, City of Omaha, Councilmembers and the philanthropic community.  Our process will be very open and transparent.  As you are aware - our original plan for the Civic Auditorium was consistent with the 2009 Downtown Master Plan.  The process for developing the Downtown Master Plan included a huge effort for public engagement and public input.  In fact, this process involved the largest group of individuals giving input - in the history of the city.   The Civic site was included in this plan.  We are excited about the possibilities and moving forward with developing the Civic site.  We will keep you posted and involved."

The meeting take place Monday at 7p.m. at UNO's Community Engagement Center.