In first year, Ralston Arena offers wide variety of events
In its first 12 months, the Ralston Arena attracted more than 360,000 people — offering a wide variety of events to interest a wide cross-section of people.
“We cannot survive the way the CenturyLink Center or the Pinnacle Bank Arena are going to survive on big shows and draws,” said Paul Hendrickson, arena general manager.
“We have to spread our wings and be accessible. That's the advantage with the size of the venue we have. We are going to see different people at all the different events.”
A scan of the arena's events reflects that.
More than 100 people from Beautiful Savior Lutheran Church worship every Sunday in the arena's banquet space. In the fall, another 100 play hockey in the Omaha Beer and Pretzel League.
The 31 Omaha Lancers games last season averaged an attendance of 2,349. University of Nebraska at Omaha men's basketball averaged 1,165 attendees over 13 games.
So far, the biggest single-night draws at the arena have been a pair of Victory Fighting Championships. The March fights were followed by an Easter church service that attracted more than 1,500 people.
“But that's what we have to do to keep up in the market,” Hendrickson said. “We have to find something for everyone.”
Despite tight Bellevue budget, man pushes for new library
John Seyfarth believes in libraries, and he believes the Bellevue City Council should, too.
He wants Bellevue to forge a public-private partnership to build a new library near 36th Street and Capehart Road. He says $15 million to $20 million should be raised to make it happen.
Seyfarth, president of the Bellevue Public Library Advisory Board, appeared before the City Council to make his case.
Councilman Don Preister reminded him that times are hard and money is scarce for Bellevue. Preister said with the advent of electronic media and the growth of a paperless world, the continued relevance of libraries has been questioned.
But Seyfarth said he will continue advocating for a new library.
“Libraries are not going away,” he said. “Their role will evolve, which is normal, but there will always be books.”
District rejects responsibility in drainage canal complaint
The Ralston Public Schools rejected responsibility for a drainage problem that led Rick Kollar, who serves on the Ralston school board, to file a complaint against the district.
Kollar filed a complaint against the district and the City of Omaha in August. His home abuts a drainage canal, and Kollar said it involves ownership by the City of Omaha and the Ralston Public Schools.
Kollar said the canal caused erosion to his property, moving the ditch nearly a foot closer to his fence line in the 15 years he's lived at the property.
The engineering firm of Lamp, Rynearson and Associates found that the drainage canal has existed on that property since before Kollar's neighborhood was created. When the housing subdivision was developed, the waterway was enclosed by a pipe.
An easement on the property now belongs to the City of Omaha, the firm said.
Kollar said he was satisfied with the school board's response. Kollar plans to file a claim against the City of Omaha and wants the Ralston Public Schools to help him continue his efforts.
Board of Education President Linda Richards said the district is not interested in pursuing the issue any further.
“It's not in a position where that's too concerning for us,” she said.