Out of the fog of the controversies of site selection, historic preservation, project management and public financing surrounding Douglas County’s proposed Juvenile Justice Center in Downtown Omaha a question adjacent to the project has yet to be answered. In a compromise deal, the original site to be acquired by eminent domain was spared when Metropolitan Utilities District agreed to sell their headquarters to Douglas County and relocate their operations to make way for the Juvenile Justice Center. Now, the remaining question is, where will MUD relocate?
One of the issues that has been of concern to Mode Shift Omaha from our founding is the problem of connecting where people live with where people work in an equitable fashion. When companies select a site for an employment center that does not account for people who cannot drive, for whatever reason, they unintentionally limit the pool of available employees, or require complicated, costly solutions that may or may not be sustainable.
As MUD’s headquarters is not only an employment center, but also a service center, the need for accessibility is two fold: both employees and customers should have full access to the facility. Whether the utility plans to build a new headquarters or lease office space in the interim, we hope that they will select a location that is accessible by active modes of transportation and by individuals with mobility limitations. To select a car-only location will erect a barrier between the utility and their customer-owners as well as limit their pool of qualified employees by adding access to private automobile transportation to the employment qualifications.
Please contact the board of directors and let them know you would like to see MUD select an accessible site for their headquarters in order that all Omahans will be able to take advantage of the employment opportunities and services MUD provides to the community.