Restoration Exchange Omaha and the Omaha World-Herald submitted nearly identical FOIA requests to the City asking for communications related to the HDR/Omaha Performing Arts/Specht issue. They requested information dating back to January 1, 2015.
It’s our understanding that they’ve since received all of the documents, although there are several communications and documents the City did not share for two reasons: 1) they are protected by attorney/client privilege (40 emails) and/or 2) they relate to real estate negotiations and state law allows them to NOT be shared until after the sale is final (115 emails).
We’ve seen a few but not all of the documents, and we wanted to share a few here and there so as to make all of these discussions more transparent given that the City plans to spend nearly $11 million to move everything forward.
This letter from Mayor Stothert to OPA Chairman John Gottschalk makes it abundantly clear that the City provided options for OPA to get a reasonable amount parking. This is an important point because, as we understand it, OPA still desires to construct a 520-stall parking garage on the site where the three historic buildings currently stand.
Needless to say, it appears OPA declined the City’s offer and continued to leverage their lot (the lot HDR plans to build on) in order to get everything they want, which is where we are today.
Write your City Council member and/or attend the 2pm February 9 City Council meeting to voice your opposition to the planned series of events. And don’t forget we’re gathering tonight at the Omaha Bicycle Company to prepare postcards for City Council members and to welcome our new program coordinator, Michaela Brown!