Planning commission OKs 84th Street plan
La Vista has taken a step forward in its grand plan to build a large Civic Center Park and city center along 84th Street.
The La Vista Planning Commission recommended that the City Council approve the 84th Street Redevelopment Plan, which includes the proposed civic park on the site of La Vista Falls Golf Course and a city center, which would redevelop a commercial strip that formerly featured a Walmart.
The plan says the city center would be split into three “districts” along the east side of 84th Street.
The Promenade District would face the south side of the civic park, and all proposed buildings would have a view of the park. Buildings would consist of single- to multiple-story buildings. A mix of retail and restaurants would occupy the ground floors, with residential space above.
Just south, the Park District would have a town square and be in the center of the three districts. Buildings would focus on office and retail in first floors and residential above.
Lastly, the Paseo District would sit on the southern end of the center and is planned as a blend of living options.
The name comes from a network of narrow pedestrian passages, or paseos, that are intended to connect to courts or gardens associated with multifamily structures. Commercial, retail and office space would be in the portion of the district facing 84th Street.
Such a development would require significant public investments. The Civic Center Park has an estimated cost of $42.3 million. An $8.5 million aquatic facility remains in the plan.
The plan lists public funding mechanisms, including tax increment financing, and private foundations that could help provide developers the resources to become part of the project.
The plan is expected to appear before the La Vista City Council in November.
Developer can back out of Wilson plant buy
The Omaha developer interested in buying Bellevue's former Wilson Concrete plant property along Fort Crook Road can withdraw from a purchase agreement if the site proves unfeasible.
Lockwood Development is required to place a $10,000 earnest deposit into an interest-bearing account, which will be counted toward the $2.65 million purchase price if the sale goes through. Lockwood has until July 31 to make that decision, but could reclaim the deposit plus interest if it withdraws.
Lockwood wants to build a new retail and commercial development on the property now owned by the City of Bellevue.
The purchase agreement also is contingent upon the developer's receiving tax increment financing, which permits property taxes on any improvements to be used to retire the cost of installing infrastructure.
Schramm State Park play area appeals to all
Both kids and adults soon will find someplace to play at Schramm State Park's playground.
The playground has new equipment and will have a grand re-opening today. The park, nine miles south of Gretna on Highway 31, purchased the equipment with funds collected by Kevin Welsh and friends.
The project began about three years ago, Welsh said, when he visited the park and noticed the playground wasn't holding up well. He said he grew up playing there and felt obligated to give back.
So Welsh began fundraising. He ran a triathlon, played in charity poker tournaments, posted a YouTube video asking for help and funded the project himself. The Suburban Omaha Rotary Club also contributed, among other private donors.
In all, he collected about $30,000 and $10,000 in donated services.
A new playground set with slides, swings and sand digging toys will be just some of the new equipment at the playground. Adults can use a pullup bar and a situp station, Welsh said.
“I grew up out here, found the park trashed and had the opportunity to give back,” Welsh said.
Welsh is collecting funds for the project at redbasket.org/2/schramm-park-play.
Despite error, Bellevue hospital still owes tax
The Bellevue Medical Center will be due a $240,000 property tax bill despite a notification error by the Sarpy County Assessor's Office.
Hospital attorneys said the assessor missed key legal deadlines for notifying the hospital of a major property valuation change and argued that the hospital should not have to pay the property taxes.
For its first two years, the medical center at 25th Street and Highway 370 had nonprofit status and was exempt from paying property taxes.
County Assessor Dan Pittman said the hospital notified Sarpy County that it was surrendering its nonprofit status beginning with the 2011-12 year because it would begin activities inconsistent with nonprofits.
But the corresponding change listing the hospital as a for-profit entity was not made in the county's computer system, Pittman said.
That kept a payment notification from being generated.
As a result, two state-required assessment and payment notification deadlines were missed.
Pittman said he realizes that the error is a major incident and that precautions are in place that will prevent a recurrence.
“If I was going to make an error on a property, I would not have chosen this one,” he said. “It's huge. Dollarwise, it's very big.”
After lengthy discussion earlier this month, the Sarpy County Board unanimously denied an exemption for the property.
On a 3-2 vote, the board also declined to reduce the hospital's property valuation from approximately $60 million to $45 million.
Attorney Garth Glissman said the hospital had not accounted for the tax bill in its annual budget because it received no notification from the county that money was due.
“These notice and time requirements are clear,” he said. “They're in place for good reason, and that is to allow taxpayers to properly budget and plan for their tax liability in any given year.”
La Vista residents can give input on city
The City of La Vista will again ask residents for their input on the city.
The La Vista City Council authorized the use of the National Citizen Survey to collect data to help identify resident priorities and satisfaction levels. The survey will ask 1,200 residents by mail to rate La Vista's quality of life, quality and use of municipal services and local policies.
La Vista received its last community survey results four years ago. Results are expected by March 2013.
— World-Herald News Service