Oct 24 2019

Infrastructure Needs in Lincoln


There are incredible opportunities to maintain stable growth in Lincoln. 

As we prepare for 2020 and beyond, the Lincoln Chamber of Commerce is committed to advocating for important infrastructure upgrades that are sorely needed and that will benefit our community.

One area of opportunity for growth is the rehabilitation of existing roads and the building of new ones, thanks to the passing of the quarter-cent sales tax addition by Lincoln voters in April. There will be many projects to tackle throughout all sections of the city, which will have profound impacts on our neighborhoods, our businesses and our quality of life.

Todd Wiltgen, our public policy specialist with the Lincoln Chamber, is one of 14 members on Mayor Gaylor Baird's advisory committee on transportation (ACT). After collecting feedback from open houses, online mapping and surveys, the committee is narrowing in on some of the first roads that need work in four neighborhoods across Lincoln.

Their work continues as they not only try to determine which residential streets need the earliest repairs but also where sustainable growth and new roads can be built into the city's expanding footprint. These improvements remain top of mind in our community conversations with citizens and businesses.

One specific project that continues to be a great source of discussion is the proposed roundabout and project at 14th and Old Cheney Road/Warlick Boulevard.

Much study has gone into this area and potential solutions for how to handle traffic load, reduce conflict points and make the area better for residents, businesses and the general public. On October 16, the Lincoln Chamber recently held a Growth and Development Forum to provide an appropriate avenue for discussion about the project from Felsburg, Holt and Ullevig and JEO Consulting Group.

There has been a delay in the project's potential implementation, which we at the Lincoln Chamber opposed. We feel it's in the best interest of the community to move forward with this project and address the problems in this area that have had negative effects on local neighborhoods and businesses over the years.

Finally, one of the most important issues facing both our city and our state, is affordable housing. It has been a priority for the Chamber to work with the city and development community to identify solutions to what continues to be a growing issue in our community.

The Chamber and other members of the Growth is Good coalition are participating in the newly formed Housing Affordability Task Force, which has examined the use of Sanitary and Improvement Districts in Douglas and Sarpy Counties to determine if that could be an option for Lincoln. The city's Urban Development Department also asked the Chamber to assist with a study to assess affordable housing by hosting numerous stakeholder meetings and conducting an online employer survey this fall.

When we talk about challenges, these are some of the biggest facing our city right now, which we don't take lightly. Our work will extend and progress into 2020 and beyond as we continue looking at how to address these growing needs in our community for opportunities to improve infrastructure and more attainable housing.