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Haymarket arena construction

Preliminary work is under way for construction of a new arena west of the Haymarket in downtown Lincoln. (ERIC GREGORY / Lincoln Journal Star file photo)

The agency overseeing the building of the West Haymarket arena project says it is keeping its promise by spending money locally.

The Joint Public Agency, the three-person committee overseeing the project, announced Wednesday that 88 percent of contracts awarded so far have been to local companies. Those contracts include the majority of those that will be granted for design and preliminary work, said Dan Marvin, West Haymarket program administrator.

More than $21 million of the $24 million contracted so far has gone to companies with a "local presence," said University of Nebraska regent and JPA committee member Tim Clare.

"This project was billed as utilizing local labor and local talent and we want to show we are," Clare said. "We want to keep our dollars local."

Beginning at the end of the week, the JPA will post a copy of winning contracts, contract amounts and whether it was awarded to local or out-of-state company on its website at (A preview can be found here.)

Clare said local presence means the company has ties to Lincoln or Nebraka.

For instance, the DLR Group, arena architects, is a national firm but has offices and a strong presence in Omaha and Lincoln. Their contract totals $8,842,826.

Nearly $3 million has gone to out-of-state companies, including a $1.5 million contract to CSL Marketing Consultants in charge of naming rights and sponsorship, a $688,237 contract to AON Insurance for general liability and environment insurance and $360,000 to Qwest Communications for fiber optic and communication line relocation.

Contracts will continue to be posted throughout the construction process, Clare said. He said he hopes to add budgeted amounts versus actual costs as they become available.

In other business, the JPA:

* Discussed the possiblity of using eminent domain to aquire two properties south of the arena.

Alter Scrap Metal and JayLynn lumber yard near Fifth and N streets are needed for redevelopment and for the relocation of Burlington Northern Santa Fe tracks, said Rick Peo, chief assistant city attorney. 

Negotiations have been "amicable and ongoing for months but relocation of two large businesses is complex and takes time," Peo told the JPA.

They hope to have aquired the property by May in order to start track relocation. 

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"It comes down to a timing issue," said Marvin, program administrator, about the possibility of using eminent domain.

The JPA went into closed executive session to discuss the acquisition and did not disclose a possible purchase price.

* Said Lincoln will get its first look at what the actual arena will look like when architectural drawings are delivered Feb. 25 to the JPA.

* Approved a $57,000 contract to Benesch and Co. for soil testing in the "doughnut hole" area to see if the dirt would be safe for land fill.

"It will save money if we can use what's already there," Peo said.

* Heard a report by Jim Martin, arena program manager, that all infrastructure projects are on schedule, including the 10th Street/Salt Creek and the Charleston Street bridge road projects.

Reach Jordan Pascale at 402-473-7120 or



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