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Mayor's Office

2004 Media Releases

December 16, 2004
For More Information Contact:
Diane Gonzolas, Citizen Information Center, 441-7831
Dallas McGee, Urban Development, 441-7857

Mayor Seng Pledges To Explore Proposed New Convention Center

Mayor Coleen J. Seng today expressed strong interest in working with John Q. Hammons to explore a possible convention center and arena in the area west of the Historic Haymarket near downtown Lincoln. Hammons, a hotel developer from Springfield, Missouri, has approached the City with an interest in the project.

A study released jointly by the Lincoln Chamber of Commerce and the Downtown Lincoln Association Wednesday indicated a need for additional convention space in Lincoln, as well as a need to begin planning for a new arena.

“We have experience with Mr. Hammons and know he is a great partner,” Mayor Seng said. “With his vision and commitment to Lincoln, I believe we may have an opportunity to create a project that could serve the community for generations to come.”

Convention, Sports & Leisure International, the consulting firm that authored the study released Wednesday, recommended that the best locations for new convention space or a new arena are in the downtown. The proposed Downtown Master Plan suggests placing them near the Haymarket.

“The study indicates a site close to the Haymarket appears to be a logical location,” said Mayor Seng. “It is exciting that we have now been approached by a private investor with experience in convention centers and arenas throughout the United States. But this proposed project is in its very early stages. The project could face many challenges, and we must have more information before we’ll know if we are in a position to take advantage of the opportunity to partner with Mr. Hammons.”

The City of Lincoln will identify those challenges and determine what would be required to move ahead, Mayor Seng said.

“The community must come together to fully discuss this thrilling possibility,” she said. “This may be an opportunity to do something very significant for the future of our community.”

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