Downtown Lincoln a genuine destination

Bypass to put city on new course
By: Jean LundLincoln News Messenger Publisher
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The Highway 65 Bypass has been completed. For the past 12 years that I have lived in Lincoln, the dream of the bypass was not only talked about but diligently worked on by those who had the vision of how Lincoln could be in the future.
It is hard to believe that vision has actually come true!
I have watched this progress. In the last 12 years, The Lincoln News Messenger has moved to three different locations, all in the downtown area. Each location had its own set of challenges for the newspaper; first, we were on Fifth Street for a few years and there was no parking. The community was so busy growing that every parking space was used at all times of the day.
The next location was on G and Seventh streets next to the train tracks in the Old Icehouse. We could never get out of the parking lot to cross the street because the truck traffic was so intense.
Next and last, we moved to the cute, white house on F Street across from the Chamber of Commerce. At this location, we were able to avoid the traffic and parking problems that we had on Fifth and G streets.
All of this moving was done to try and alleviate the parking and maneuvering problems we had because of the traffic we were experiencing on G Street.
From the years 1999-2006, our community grew from about 12,000 residents to 40,000. Downtown was very busy with shoppers and diners.
Those working on building the bypass went full-steam ahead. Our community was prosperous. Then came the economic slowdown and Lincoln immediately suffered. Many businesses closed, including Beermann’s Restaurant and Bar, which employed 93 people.
Our community suffered but the bypass plans continued and drove ahead. Thank you to City Councilman Tom Cosgrove, former Congressman John Doolittle and many others.
Now, in October 2012, the bypass has opened. A new vision of the historic downtown is being developed. Some of the downtown merchants and other interested parties have formed an association, Lincoln Downtown Association, to create a plan for the merchants to succeed.
Many positive moves are being made for the downtown area to become the destination for all ages. The bypass has been completed but a new era of growth for the historic downtown is well under way. Come “Discover the Charm!”