Sep 12 2023

Assemble Lincoln Group Moves Lincoln Convention Center Planning Process Forward


A group comprised of local, state and federal policymakers, business leaders and members of the Lincoln community announced the next steps to making a downtown Lincoln convention center a reality at a press conference on Tuesday morning.

Assemble Lincoln is made up of eight members, who represent public and private sector interests and in addition, contains representatives from the Lincoln Chamber of Commerce, Visit Lincoln, and Downtown Lincoln Association. Members include:

Sen. Eliot Bostar, Chair, Nebraska State Senator, District 29

Kenneth Zoeller, Vice Chair
Director of Policy Research, State of Nebraska Governor Pillen's Office

Sen. Beau Ballard
Nebraska State Senator, District 21

Comm. Sean Flowerday
Lancaster County Commissioner

Rich Herink
Private Sector Representative

Lynn Rex
Executive Director, League of Nebraska Municipalities

Deb Schorr
District Director, Congressman Mike Flood

Sen. Anna Wishart
Nebraska State Senator, District 27


Jeff Maul
Executive Director, Visit Lincoln
Vice President, Lincoln Chamber of Commerce

Todd Ogden
President & CEO, Downtown Lincoln Association

“The vision for economic growth and development in our downtown includes a Lincoln convention center, aligning with the Lincoln Chamber’s Vitality Lincoln strategic plan, that serves as a foundation for our community’s future and sustained success,” says Jason Ball, president of the Lincoln Chamber of Commerce.

“This type of destination development would not be possible without the work of the city, county and state working together to move it forward, and building upon the success of Pinnacle Bank Arena, the recent groundbreaking of the Sandhills Global Youth Complex and similar structures that contribute to our evolving tourism skyline. The Chamber is greatly appreciative of the state’s support for this project, helping us grow our community,” Ball concludes.

One of the next steps for the project will be the issuance of the RFLI (Request for Letters of Interest) for prospective site locations for a Lincoln convention center. Previously, Phase I and Phase II of the Convention, Sports & Leisure study in 2021 and 2022 identified five suggested sites in the downtown area for a convention center. 

Assemble Lincoln will also maintain a live website, which will have the latest news and updates on the project, found at 

Here is what members of Assemble Lincoln have to say about the project:

Senator Eliot Bostar

“Leaders in our city have been working for years to bring a convention center to Lincoln. Thanks to the effort and collaboration of stakeholders from across our community, we are one step closer to that vision becoming a reality. This project will bring important investment to downtown Lincoln and serve as a catalyst for growth in our community.”

Kenny Zoeller, Governor Jim Pillen’s Office

“Lincoln’s Convention Center is an extraordinary opportunity for local, state, federal and business leaders to collaborate on a project that will be a public benefit to Lincoln and the State of Nebraska. As a Lincolnite, I am honored to participate as Governor Pillen’s representative for this generational project.”

Lynn Rex, League of Nebraska Municipalities

“Cities and villages throughout Nebraska benefit greatly from the Civic and Community Center Financing Fund (CCCFF), funded by 30 percent of the 'state turnback tax’ currently generated by the convention centers/arenas in Omaha, Lincoln and Ralston. A new convention center in Lincoln receiving 'state turnback tax' would enable Lincoln to compete for larger state, regional and national events significantly boosting Lincoln's economy as well as promoting more economic opportunity in other municipalities across Nebraska through CCCFF grants."

Mayor Leirion Gaylor Baird, City of Lincoln

“A new convention center will be a welcome addition to our thriving downtown that is busting with concerts, college sports, restaurants, bars and local shops. The convention center will infuse even more energy into our community, attracting visitors, boosting local businesses and enhancing our residents’ quality of life.”

Sean Flowerday, Lancaster County Board

“Building a downtown convention center is a strategic investment in our community’s future and Lancaster County is proud to be a partner in this effort. This project will be an economic supercharger for this county, boosting tourism and creating additional revenues that will support other vital projects across the region. It’s a win-win proposition that will strengthen our economy and enhance the quality of life for all citizens.”

Deb Schorr, Congressman Mike Flood’s Office

“Continued investment in the future of Lincoln is a top priority for Congressman Flood. This exciting project will serve as an economic driver for all of eastern Nebraska.”

Rich Herink

“A state-of-the-art convention center in Lincoln is the catalyst our business community needs, creating a dynamic hub for conferences and events that will attract visitors and revenue, fueling our city’s ongoing growth and prosperity.”