EAST BELTWAY ISSUES TO BE DISCUSSED
I am writing for the approximately 224,000 citizens in the city who do not have property or an historical treasure in the Stevens Creek Basin.
All of our citizens, however, have an important stake in the East Beltway decision and how it will affect our community for years and years to come.
After listening to the testimony before you so far, it is clear that compassion for all is vital. The taking of property and disruption of our citizens' lives is one of the most dire decisions local leaders ever make. That is also why it is so important to be objective, impartial and thorough.
To that end I ask that you give careful consideration to two issues, which I believe are integral to the East Beltway considerations. I expect them to be addressed in your recommendations to the Lincoln City Council and the Lancaster County Board.
The first is work done by the Stevens Creek Basin Initiative Task Force. Hours and hours of deliberation with expert input, and days and days of public meetings yielded Planning Guidelines that express a public voice on the future of Stevens Creek. One of the loud and clear statement received supports parks and greenway development as one of the unique opportunities there. The task force report purposes a dominant linear park that would "preserve the current natural state of Stevens Creek as a natural floodway" in a "wilderness type corridor park".
From information garnered through my attendance at task force forums where the final report was open for public comment, I am certain that they did not envision a wilderness type corridor park with a "viewscape" of interstate traffic whizzing by and mega-watt transmission lines humming overhead. What weight should we ascribe to the "adverse impacts" that the Middle Route will have on the thousands of our citizens who will use such a linear park? I am including for the record a photocopy of the park/greenways section from the task force report. (On file in the Planning Department)
The second issue has to do with flooding and floodplain management on Stevens Creek. The City, County and NRD have been in serious discussions about serious restrictions on flood plain construction in the Lincoln area. A comprehensive flood plain study is underway and will be completed within months.
Yet, we are considering a 300-foot wide construction project that will put millions and millions of cubic yards of fill in the heart of much of the Stevens Creek floodplain - in effect, creating a mile-long dike. What will this mean for displacement of floodwaters and the ensuing threat to property and possibly to lives? What will such flooding mean for the viability and maintenance of the roadway itself?
Long-time residents of the area have told me that there have been 10 floods on Stevens Creek during the past 30 years. I am including for the record a videotape of the last flood along the creek so you can see the potential impacts on a Middle Route. (On file in the Planning Department)
I appreciate the attention you are giving, the process you are following and the outpouring of citizen sentiment. This decision, however, cannot - should not- be made on sentiment. Our community needs a full, clear and accurate assessment of the facts for the East Beltway location. I know your deliberations and recommendation will move us closer to that goal.