Crown Communities Awards 2012
Antelope Valley Project
The Antelope Valley Project was a joint solution to a myriad of challenges faced by Lincoln, the Lower Platte South Natural Resource District and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Those challenges included flood control, traffic congestion and pedestrian safety, conflicts with railroads and roadways, and the need for community revitalization. Unable to reach a solution on their own, the three partners came together and held more than 1,500 community meetings to find an answer the whole community could embrace, says Roger Figard, city engineer.
In 2000, a multi-year plan was developed to tackle all the problems together, and most of the components were completed this year. The project included removing the designated 100-year flood plain from 336 commercial structures, 961 residential structures and 50 acres of the University of Nebraska properties and constructing a new aesthetic open waterway to convey the 100-year flood waters, which is projected to generate new private development and reinvestment opportunities.
The project also included transportation improvements, such as eliminating dangerous railroad crossings and constructing 6.2 miles of new roadways to improve traffic flow and reduce on-campus traffic congestion. In addition, the project enhanced the downtown community by reversing the blighting and substandard trends occurring in the area, increasing the vitality of existing businesses and residences, encouraging economic development and job creation, providing new community services and mixed-use developments in formerly flood prone areas, and increasing recreation and trail opportunities.
“By working together, we were able to set aside individual needs and conflicting issues to find a single solution that worked for everyone,” Figard says. “The Antelope Valley Project demonstrated to the entire city that the community can accomplish big things when we work together as partners. This project has created exciting opportunities for improved entertainment, recreation, new urban living, and health and business growth in our downtown area and reclaimed building sites for the university. The Antelope Valley Project has set the stage for the other projects to be envisioned and that are taking place in the downtown area.”