Resolution on inclusive workplaces is approved
UPDATE: Councilwoman Jean Stothert mentioned during the meeting that the Greater Omaha Chamber supports the resolution. Here is a link to the chamber’s letter of support.
The Omaha City Council is on record supporting inclusive workplaces in the city.
The council voted unanimously this afternoon to support a resolution offered as an alternative to Councilman Ben Gray’s proposed city ordinance that would offer legal protections to gay and transgender residents.
Gray still is moving forward with his proposal for an ordinance. A public hearing will be held March 6.
So the debate over the issue will continue. And one central question will be: Does the resolution approved today go far enough?
City Hall reporter Juan Perez Jr. reports that the resolution “says the council believes no one should be targeted for ‘scorn, hatred or violence for any reason.’”
“The council also pledges in the resolution to work with business and community leaders to promote workplaces that ‘promote respect and eliminate any workplace discrimination,’” Perez reports.
He will have more on this on omaha.com and in tomorrow’s World-Herald.
City workers win big
Sixteen workers from the Omaha Public Works Department are about to get a nice payout.
The Nebraska Lottery says the street maintenance employees won a $1 million prize from the Feb. 8 Powerball, World-Herald staff writer Kevin Cole reports. Cole has the story here.
The group was oh-so-close to the ultimate prize. They had five numbers correct but not the Powerball, which would have kicked up their prize to $255 million.
Cole reports that the group bought its winning ticket at Kwik Shop at 7525 Cass St.
Split 16 ways, the prize would come out to $62,500 apiece.
Ballpark will host hockey, too
TD Ameritrade Park will tap into the growing interest in outdoor hockey
It’s a ballpark that has also held football games and concerts. It looks like hockey is the next outside-the-box use for downtown’s outdoor stadium.
This afternoon, Omaha sports officials are expected to announce a winter hockey classic at TD Ameritrade Park featuring UNO against rival North Dakota and the junior league Omaha Lancers against the Lincoln Stars. It would be held in 2013.
Any doubts about whether this will be a success?
After the NHL sparked interest, outdoor hockey matches as a headlining event have been spreading. Last month, for instance, Cleveland’s Progressive Field (pictured above) hosted an Ohio State-Michigan hockey match.
So what other ideas are out there for a stadium without a season-long tenant?
Independent league baseball, sure. TD Ameritrade Park also had Creighton baseball, the Missouri Valley baseball tournament, an international baseball exhibition and a home-run derby.
It has had Omaha Nighthawks football and the Red Sky Music Festival.
There’s talk of soccer.
But what else? Suggest your ideas here.
Mayor Suttle with family
Mayor Jim Suttle is in West Virginia with family following the death of his mother, Wanda, last weekend.
Wanda S. Suttle died Saturday at age 87. A memorial service and burial will be Wednesday in St. Albans, West Virginia.
“Mayor Suttle was very close to his mother and spoke proudly of her strong character and work ethic,” Aida Amoura, Suttle’s spokeswoman, said in a statement. “The mayor credits his mom with his constant drive to do more as a businessman and as a public servant.”
The Mayor’s Office asked that letters of condolence be sent to the mayor’s City Hall address: 1819 Farnam Street, Suite 300, Omaha, NE 68183.
16th Street development?
City sells property along a corridor long overdue for redevelopment
With little fanfare, the City of Omaha just opened up a development opportunity along the run-down 16th Street corridor. It’s at the empty Lerner Building at 16th and Harney Streets.
The City Council approved the sale Tuesday to Dicon Inc., which is working with Seldin Co. on a project.
Since 1995, the city has owned the building, after originally receiving it as a donation. Development plans for the property have come and gone.
Now Dicon and Seldin are talking about some sort of retail/office/apartment development. The building would be renovated and possibly gain additional floors.
Will a redevelopment happen this time?
Omahans who remember 16th Street’s heyday will be watching.
On tap for Tuesday: City Council
The Omaha City Council meets on Tuesday. Here are some agenda items of note:
- A potential buyer has stepped forward for the city-owned Lerner Building downtown at 16th and Harney Streets. Since 1995, the city has owned the former home of Lerner Shops and Brodkey Jewelry. The council will vote on a purchase offer of $157,500.
- The proposed changes to the city’s dangerous animals ordinance are up for a vote. If approved, potentially dangerous animals would be dropped from that list automatically after two years of good behavior, and a $200 fee to get animals off the list would be dropped.
- The Omaha Police Department will buy 130 cruiser cameras for $1.19 million, upgrading the department’s broken-down equipment.
- The council will hold a public hearing on a sewer separation contract in north downtown along Nicholas Street between 10th and 16th Streets. City staff is recommending that Hawkins Construction receive the contract for $15.85 million.
City boosts Florence, wants to do more
Sidewalks, parking will be improved. City hopes private investment follows.
Mayor Jim Suttle, Councilman Pete Festersen and Florence community leaders were excited at an announcement Friday about a two-block project to spruce up downtown Florence. The work is due to start in June.
Suttle said he’d like to get more projects going in the city’s historic business districts.
The $575,000 project will improve the Florence “streetscape” — dressing up the sidewalks, planting new landscaping and adding parking. It’s the kind of work Omaha has done along 24th Street in South Omaha, and similar to what is coming to Dundee.
At a Friday press conference, Suttle floated the idea of using city sales tax revenue to fund improvements in such business districts as Benson, downtown Elkhorn, Millard, along Park Avenue in midtown, along Vinton Street in south Omaha and a continuation of the Florence work.
But first, Omaha would need the Legislature’s help. A bill under consideration would give the city extra sales tax authority if voters approve.
Suttle said the city could ask voters to fund improvements in those business districts.
If that ended up on a ballot, would you go for that?
Ashford for mayor?
State Sen. Brad Ashford considering run for mayor
Omaha is more than a year out from the mayoral election, but get ready for candidates to start coming forward.
Lincoln bureau reporter Paul Hammel reports that State Sen. Brad Ashford of Omaha, who will be term limited out of office at the end of 2014, is considering a run for Omaha mayor.
“The mayor’s job is an opportunity to continue to serve,” Ashford said.
Ashford recently changed his political registration from Republican to independent.
Mayor Jim Suttle, a Democrat, hasn’t said whether he’ll run for a second term.
So for now, we’re in kind of a pre-campaign mode.
Yes, another study looking at streetcars
City will finally settle on streetcars or another option
To recap Omaha’s history of streetcar-related studies:
1995: 10th Street trolley feasibility study.
1998: Streetcar study for downtown, north Omaha and 10th Street to the zoo.
2006: Downtown streetcar feasibility study.
2009: Streetcar financial feasibility study.
Now Metro, the city and some significant community partners are taking another crack at it. They’ve stressed to us: This is not a streetcar study.
So to be fair, this study is analyzing streetcars, basic improvements to the bus system and a streetcar-bus cross called bus rapid transit. To also be fair, streetcars are not an “oh, by the way” part of this study.
I caught some flack from the transportation alternatives group ModeShift Omaha on my coverage of this study, officially called an “alternatives analysis.” The group tweeted: “Seems for the World Herald, there is but one narrative for the upcoming Alternatives Analysis: Streetcars.”
Love streetcars or hate them, this analysis is going to be the definitive study on the issue. Either streetcars prove out, or they get knocked down.