Now that the long years of State Capitol restoration are nearing an end, perhaps plans to improve the shabby blocks nearby on Centennial Mall can gain needed momentum.
A master plan for renovation of the mall, which links the Capitol with the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, was approved earlier this month by the Capitol Environs Commission.
Plans call for a tree-lined block just north of the Capitol, with a tree-lined pedestrian walkway stretching the entire length of the mall. The large basins in the original mall will be a thing of the past, but some blocks will feature pop jet water fountains that send blobs of water arcing through the air in a variety of patterns.
Fundraising for the mall project is slated to begin in March, with the goal set at $9 million. City Hall has raised about $3 million from tax increment financing and keno funds. Unfortunately, state government's revenue shortfall makes the possibility of assistance from that source a forlorn hope.
Upgrading Centennial Mall would be a big step toward, making the Capital city a more attractive and comfortable place for residents and visitors. Fundraisers hope to begin renovation work in 2012. We wish them success.