As you wish, I went on the show this morning to talk about some of the money that’s been spent on the arena project. Specifically, they were interested in the $23,000 website the city is hiring a PR firm to create. And specifically, the $1,500 included to set up a Facebook site for the arena project. I questioned that, since any pimple-faced teenager — nay, tween — could set up a Facebook account in about three minutes.
Hear it here.
Took a look at some of the arena documents available online to the public, and here are a few nuggets I found interesting:
• Last month Gilmore & Bell, a public finance law firm, was paid $300,000 for its work on the arena bond issues. That’s the firm Lincoln’s bond counsel, Lauren Wismer, works for.
• Ameritas Investment Corp. was paid $150,000 last month. Ameritas contributed at least $12,700 to the pro-arena campaign before the May election, where voters approved the $340 million project.
• They’ve budgeted $15,500 for furniture, fixtures and data processing equipment for the city employees working on the arena project.
• The joint public agency will pay the Thought District $23,000 to set up a website and Facebook site to track development of the arena project. The Facebook portion alone will cost $1,500 (any teenager could set that up for nothing!) According to the Thought District’s project overview, “By providing an up-to-date, transparent view of the project, the website will inform the public, curb negative sentiment, and excite supporters of the arena.”
What are the odds of that?
One day after my post about how local preservationists seem to largely slumber, the front page of the LJS features a story about the Preservation Association of Lincoln’s top 11 list of endangered buildings. Normally, I think of endangered buildings as buildings still standing, but the list contained some that have already been torn down. To wit: the Bison Books warehouse has already been torn down, but there it is on the list. Endangered? No, gone.
The point is, the preservation association needs to get out in front of these demolition projects if it is to be effective. If you want to save Bison Books, you go down to city hall and testify before the City Council before they approve a TIF agreement that calls for its demolition (for example), not after the fact.
Publishing a top 11 list of endangered buildings — including some that are already gone — seems a bit late at this point. Wake up, preservationists!