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By Randy York
Lincoln Mayor Chris Beutler calls it “a high point” and “a peak”, and University of Nebraska Regent Tim Clare says it not only will be “a spectacle” but also “a source of pride for people of Lincoln and for the entire state of Nebraska.” “It” is the Pinnacle Bank Arena, the largest project in the history of the city of Lincoln. No wonder our mayor and the project’s most visible regent are excited. They both believe that the $179 million partnership between the city of Lincoln and the University of Nebraska will deliver a new downtown arena in the West Haymarket Area on time and under budget.
While the clock keeps ticking, both Lincoln leaders keep smiling. Perhaps they work well together because each is the father of five children. That could be one possible explanation why both seem to handle pressure well and can juggle priorities. The mayor and the regent are equally enthused about Pinnacle Bank securing the naming rights for the next 25 years. In the press conference announcing the arena’s corporate sponsor, Beutler couldn’t help coupling the word epitome with pinnacle. Clare said it was “only fitting” that Pinnacle would be associated with Lincoln’s crowning achievement and imbedded in the arena’s name. The bank is, after all, a Nebraska-based company with native Nebraska leaders.
From an architectural context, pin·na·cle is a small turret or spire on a roof. It’s also a word often used to describe a tall pointed formation, such as a mountain peak. Since we all know Nebraska has Sand Hills, not mountains, we choose the heights we climb very carefully. Building an athletic facility/entertainment venue has to be a high point, a peak, a spectacle and a source of pride for us all. So here’s an N-Sider tip of the hat to a mayor, a regent, a chancellor, an architect, an athletic director and countless public servants and private donors who took on such a monumental cause during tough times.
Leaders worked jointly and thought selflessly, and in the process, they found the right combination of public bonds and private funding to build Pinnacle Bank Arena. One almost has to rank this Lincoln achievement right up there with an inspiring State Capitol Building and an historic Memorial Stadium on Nebraska’s campus. Those first two statewide marvels emerged in the early 1920s. The third in Lincoln’s triple-crown of great structures should be finished 20 months from now – about 90 years after the first two were completed. No doubt we were due for another pinnacle Lincoln achievement, and I can understand why only one of 30 suites remains unsold or uncommitted. Now comes the fun part: Who’s ready to get in on the ground floor of this once-in-a-lifetime, state-of-the-art facility? Stay tuned. You just might be surprised.
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