Officials break ground on Haymarket arena


Chancellor Harvey Perlman and NU Regent Tim Clare helped city and state officials break ground on Lincoln's West Haymarket arena Sept. 7.

During the ceremony, Perlman said the arena was a step toward the future for Lincoln, comparing the project to UNL's move to the Big Ten Conference.

Clare, who is the university's representative on the West Haymarket Joint Public Agency, said the $150 million arena construction is proceeding on time and on budget. He hailed the use of local construction companies and materials and said the project was being done transparently.

"I'm pleased to inform you that the heavy digging begins next week and on time," Clare said.

Other officials who spoke were Gov. Dave Heineman, Mayor Chris Beutler and City Councilwoman Jayne Snyder. Snyder is also chair of the Joint Public Agency.

Heineman congratulated the university and city for working on what he said was the largest public works project in Lincoln's history.

When the 16,000-seat arena opens in 2013, it will be the home of Husker men's and women's basketball.

The project is being financed primarily through a 2 percent tax on restaurant and bar purchases in Lincoln. Voters approved the tax in the May 2010 election.

In addition to the arena, the project includes redevelopment of the Haymarket district. Officials have budgeted $340 million on the entire redevelopment.

- Troy Fedderson, University Communications