LINCOLN, Neb. — Lincoln has partnered with a Denver-based firm to create a plan for downtown development.

The city has a $193,600 contract with Progressive Urban Management Associates, the Lincoln Journal Star reported . The firm will analyze what features the downtown area can support, such as hotels, residential development and retail. A completed draft of the plan is expected by the end of the year.

Many aspects of previous plans for the downtown area have been implemented, said David Cary, the city’s planning director. Developments included landscaping on P Street, the development of the Larson Building and the creation of the Pinnacle Bank Arena. Now the city is looking for guidance moving forward.

“Downtown is very different from the downtown of 20 years ago. We have a great arena facility, an expanded Haymarket,” Cary said. “We need to see what the next step is.”

Consultants will meet with downtown employees, residents and business owners to better learn what people are interested in downtown.

“Downtown has reached a certain level of success. But you have got to keep looking to the future and moving ahead,” said Terry Uland, president of the Downtown Lincoln Association, which is working with city leaders on the plan.

The plan will help focus city policy and resources, and show developers and investors the developments the city desires, Uland said.

“And developers do respond,” Uland said.

Area leaders focus on improving downtown because it affects the health of the entire city, said Paul Barnes, a city planner. Downtown serves as the heart of the community, is a major employment center and is the main destination for entertainment, he said.

“Downtown is an urban neighborhood. What will it take to make it even more successful? That’s what the market analysis should tell us,” Barnes said.

Information from: Lincoln Journal Star,

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