Omaha Public Radio News
2:43 am
Mon April 14, 2008

Qwest Center management group approves agreement with city of Omaha

Omaha, NE – Omaha's Metropolitan Entertainment and Convention Authority is officially supporting the downtown ballpark proposal. The MECA board voted unanimously Monday morning on a new Memorandum of Understanding.

The new agreement gives MECA control over construction and management of the downtown ballpark. They'll receive a $75,000 fee from the city for doing so. The Memorandum addresses the parking and traffic issues MECA board members were concerned about. Under the agreement, 12th Street would close. 13th and 14th Street would become two-way streets.

The city of Omaha and MECA will jointly develop the Pinnacle site into a possible new downtown hotel. The Memorandum of Understanding says that no additional property managed by MECA will be taken for development while Mike Fahey is Mayor. It also says that Mayor Fahey will not use eminent domain to take property and will encourage future administrations not to do so.

MECA board member Hal Daub says he continues to be concerned about the ballpark proposal, saying it'll have unintended consequences. MECA Chairman David Sokol says it's unfortunate that the issue has caused so much divisiveness in the Omaha community.

Click on the link above to hear David Sokol's comments at the MECA meeting.