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Tower Square looking northeast

This is a rendering of Tower Square looking northeast with artwork to be created by artist Jun Kaneko.

Civic Plaza, the park area being developed at 13th and P streets which will include a very tall tower by artist Jun Kaneko, has been renamed.

It will be called Tower Square.

The name comes from the five-story, multicolored, lighted glass tower that will anchor the little quarter-block park area.

Actually, it will be called Lincoln Community Foundation Tower Square after the primary donor.

Archrival, a youth-oriented marketing firm in Lincoln hired to help select a name, said the name could be functional, like tower, or it could be evocative, said Lynn Johnson, the city's Parks and Recreation Department director.

The group looking at names decided the glass tower was going to be such a dominant piece in downtown Lincoln that a functional name was best, Johnson said at a department advisory board meeting.  

"People will say, 'meet me at the tower' or, 'there's going to be music at the tower,'" he said.   

The glass tower is being made in Germany using 2 inch-thick laminated glass, in 2-by-6-foot panels, Johnson said.

The glass panels will be mounted on a steel structure with internal lighting so the piece glows at night.

It should arrive in early September, then be erected at the park for an October dedication. 

Money for the $1.15 million sculpture came from private donations, while money for building the park came from downtown tax increment financing funds.

It’s a joke, people

Omaha Police Chief Todd Schmaderer, speaking at a joint meeting of Lincoln and Omaha city councils, explained why he wore his uniform to the meeting at Pinnacle Bank Arena.

"You’ve seen the speed traps along I-80.”

And then added: “It’s a joke, news media.”

No law against raising tax rate

Lancaster County commissioners, facing a $7 million gap between department requests and expected revenue for next year, do not want to raise the property tax rate.

They could. There’s no law against it.

But that would mean a 3.5 cent tax rate increase, or an additional $52.50 in property taxes for the owner of a $150,000 home.

This year, that homeowner is paying almost $422 in taxes for general county services — sheriff, assessor, jail, maintenance of county roads. That’s less than 14 percent of the total property tax bill.

Lincoln Public Schools takes the biggest share of property taxes: 61.5 percent of Lincoln property taxes go to LPS.

Is the city following it own rules?

Opponents of the proposed Lincoln Housing Authority apartment complex to be built near 84th and South streets have discovered the city may be breaking its own rules on selling surplus property.

The rules, published in mid-April 2014, say that a "for sale" sign must be posted on the property for at least 30 days after the City Council officially declares it surplus, Barb Biffle pointed out during Monday's public hearing on the proposal.

That is to give the public notice the land is for sale, according to the regulation.

However a 30-day wait was not in the city’s plan for this property. If the council approves the land as surplus in the next few weeks, the city intends to sell it to the Housing Authority quickly.

The city’s Urban Development Department did follow the intent of the regulations by making sure the public knew it was for sale, said David Landis, department director.

The city made the public aware the land was for sale by posting it on the city surplus property website a year ago and by putting a "for sale" sign on the land last summer, he said.

A tiny, little sign, opponents say.

These actions came before any written regulations were adopted, and were based on the principle that the city should not sell property without letting everyone know it was available, said Landis.

“Ms. Biffle’s reading of the regulation is right,” Landis said about the 30-day waiting period after a council vote.

But the department has met the intent of the regulation, he said.

The neighbors believe the land should be used for single-family homes or townhomes as currently zoned, not a 72-unit apartment complex.

And they believe the city should follow its own rules, Biffle said.  

Reach the writer at 402-473-7250 or On Twitter @LJSNancyHicks.



Nancy Hicks reports on Lincoln city government, but she’s been following the leaders of local and state government for more than 40 years.

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