Tag Archives: Omaha Performing Arts

Citizens’ Voices Heard: Omaha Performing Arts Ends Bid for Historic Buildings

16 Feb

Specht buildings - OWH

In a surprising turn of events, Omaha Performing Arts announced that they will no longer be pursuing their downtown property acquisition deal. They will leave the three century-old buildings untouched and no unnecessary parking garage will be constructed in their place.

In a press conference yesterday, Joan Squires, president of Omaha Performing Arts, said, “The planning process escalated in an effort to meet deadlines associated with HDR’s relocation and that did not give our organization enough time to meet with the community, arts partners, and others.”

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Summary of 2/9/2016 City Council Meeting

10 Feb

Mode Shift Omaha and Restoration Exchange Omaha spent the day at Omaha’s City Hall yesterday. We met with six City Council Members to discuss the City of Omaha/historic buildings/Omaha Performing Arts (OPA) agreements. Then, at the City Council meeting at 2pm yesterday, we spoke in opposition to the agreements. More than a dozen others spoke in opposition to the plans.

First, we would like to share a summary of our meetings with City Council Members yesterday. Most were sympathetic to our concerns and agreed that the agreements before them were less than ideal. They conceded, however, that they have no alternative for getting HDR’s headquarters office downtown. In other words, if they don’t approve the agreement, they fear that HDR will build in west Omaha or another city.

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Tidbits from the ‘Freedom of Information Act’ Request

5 Feb

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.

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