Work should finish by next fall on hotel near Ralston Arena
Work on an 87-room hotel adjacent to the Ralston Arena has begun and is expected to conclude next September.
Ralston Mayor Don Groesser said that tearing up the arena's south parking lot is the first step toward making way for the Holiday Inn Express.
The City Council created a hotel tax nearly two years ago.
A restaurant adjoining the hotel is planned as part of the construction, Groesser said, and the city is examining options.
Groesser said the hotel will be just the latest project generating revenue to help pay back bonds to build the $36 million facility. Ralston will receive state turnback incentives — 1 percent of state sales tax on retail sales within 600 yards of the arena.
In September, Menards opened a home improvement store at 72nd and L Streets.
Roller derby league switches venues for 2014 games
The Ralston Arena is losing the Omaha Rollergirls to Council Bluffs next year — because the arena's schedule is too full.
The team played its 2011 and 2012 seasons at the Mid-America Center but moved to the Ralston Arena for the 2013 season.
“Although we love our Ralston fans and community, we just were not able to make it work for next season,” said Jessica Palimenio, director of events for the Rollergirls.
Arena General Manager Paul Hendrickson said that the issue came down to scheduling.
“They wanted to come back. We wanted them here, but, because of all the other tenants we have, the dates they requested did not work out,” he said. “The options we gave them were not acceptable to them, so they chose to make the switch.”
Hendrickson said the Rollergirls found what they need at the Mid-America Center “simply because there's very little going on at that venue.”
Although the Rollergirls averaged more than 1,800 spectators per game during their 2013 season, Hendrickson said that the move won't affect the arena.
“It's too bad that they chose to go somewhere else, but it was a good decision for their business.”
Saddled with expense in June, La Vista doesn't want repeat
The City of La Vista wants Nebraska lawmakers to prevent a repeat of how state incentives left the city with an unanticipated hole in its budget.
In June, La Vista officials received notification from the Nebraska Department of Revenue of about $2.4 million in claims for sales tax refunds from La Vista businesses.
The letter came as La Vista was nearly finished creating its budget for the year.
La Vista takes issue with the lack of information provided to cities and the accuracy and transparency of the state's collection and distribution of sales and use taxes.
Mayor Doug Kindig also took issue with the state claiming authority to rebate a half-cent sales tax approved by city voters for specific projects. Instead of being used as voters intended, those dollars can be redirected to businesses receiving state tax incentives.
“The state needs to realize that it's not their money, it's the taxpayers'. We need to be a partner in these incentive programs, and there needs to be transparency and accountability,” Kindig said.
Ceremony marks new name, new touches for Papillion park
Papillion's Triangle Park has a new name. The city held a ceremony Nov. 8 to change the park's name to Veterans Park.
The park was previously named for the shape of the land after an old farmhouse was torn down.
“It's been transfigured from a triangle to something far more symbolic,” Col. Jim Cooper said.
The Junior Women's Club and the Garden Club helped to get a Blue Star Memorial installed in the park last year and worked to get a new flagpole. The City Council has allocated $50,000 to make other improvements at the park.
3 weekends for deer hunt at Bellevue's Jewell Park
A controlled deer hunt for archers will be held in Jewell Park for three consecutive weekends in November and December: Nov. 23 and 24, Nov. 30 and Dec. 1, and Dec. 7 and 8.
The park will be closed to the public on all three weekends — only hunters and city personnel will be allowed. Bellevue Police Sgt. Dave Rech said people should call 911 if they see any unauthorized people entering the park.