The Corporate Cup is on the hunt for a new home, possibly in central Omaha.
Next year, the annual running event will move from the Civic Auditorium to a new location. Though the new spot is “not set in stone,” Aksarben Village is the front-runner, race organizer Kevin Bonney said.
Tanner Fruit (30:56)
Eric Rasmussen (31:09)
Tom Nichols (31:43)
Matthew Pohren (31:53)
Luka Thor (31:54)
Top Female Times
Kaci Lickteig (36:33)
Amanda Lee (36:37)
Hannah Kinberg (36:47)
Natalie Como (37:29)
Megan Zavorka (37:59)
The CenturyLink Center and TD Ameritrade Park are other contenders.
Bonney said the 58-year-old Civic's financial troubles are driving the move.
“We're just trying to be proactive because the future of the Civic Auditorium is up in the air,” he said. “I'd rather make a move now.”
The Corporate Cup, one of the metro area's largest races, has been held at the Civic since the race started 31 years ago. Nearly 12,000 people lined up outside the auditorium Sunday for the race, a fundraiser for the Nebraska chapter of the American Lung Association.
Aksarben Village is “more than happy” to host the race, said Lisa Bockman, marketing and special events coordinator for the retail, office and housing development near 67th and Center Streets.
“I don't see a problem at all. There's a lot of planning, of course, involved,” she said. “But if it can work, it would be great to have an event of such caliber here at the Village.”
The Cup's potential shift from downtown to Aksarben Village is a sign of the central Omaha development's growing popularity as an event site.
The Maha Music Festival attracted more than 4,000 people to Stinson Park at Aksarben Village in August. More than 2,500 routinely flock to weekend concerts at the Aksarben Village park, and as many as 6,000 people visit the farmers market each Sunday during the summer. This weekend, it was host to an art show, which about 20,000 people attended over two days.
Aksarben Village also has held a handful of races, including the Omaha-Council Bluffs Heart Walk in May.
The Corporate Cup would be the largest single one-day event at Aksarben Village.
The Civic, it seems, is living on borrowed time. A 2011 study tallied a $29 million tab to update the facility. In May, the City Council rejected Mayor Jim Suttle's proposal for a study that would evaluate whether the entire complex should be torn down.
The Metropolitan Entertainment and Convention Authority, which manages the Civic, is patching the roof while it awaits a decision on future city funding, said Roger Dixon, president of MECA.
“The facility still is operational,” he said. “As we said before, it does need money to fix it up. The concern is that if we have a major system failure that we may have to cancel an event.”
Several tenants already have ended their contracts with the auditorium, including the Omaha Lancers, the Omaha Beef and two schools that hosted graduation ceremonies there.
The Civic Auditorium hosted 113 events in the past fiscal year and is scheduled to hold 75 events through June of 2013.
Bonney said that at the Civic, “they treat us phenomenally.” But, he said, the concert venue at Aksarben Village would allow for bands and an after-party, something he wouldn't try in the downtown area on a Sunday. “That limits us on what we can do (because) it inconveniences churches in the downtown community. We don't want bands or anything like that to be disruptive.”
The businesses near Aksarben Village also would stand to benefit, Bonney said, if the Corporate Cup ends up there.
“Hey, we're bringing (12,000) to 13,000 people to your front door,” he said.
Parking would be free in the two Aksarben Village garages, giving the development an edge over TD Ameritrade and CenturyLink.
Joe Gudenrath, the executive director of the Omaha Downtown Improvement District Association, said he hopes the race will stay downtown.
“(Downtown Omaha) is the place. It's meant to be for large events. There's no logistical issues,” he said, pointing to the Olympic Swim Trials and College World Series.
Kaci Lickteig, who won the 10K female division, hopes the race stays downtown, too.
“It's tradition,” she said. “You can't break tradition.”
Other runners seemed open to a new venue. J.P. Ladd of Omaha said he enjoyed running through downtown during his first Corporate Cup but wouldn't mind if the event moved.
“I think it would be fun to explore other parts of the community,” he said.
Contact the writer: 402-444-1071, firstname.lastname@example.org, twitter.com/KatyHealey5