chapter  4
25 Pages

Lincoln's Radial Reuse: A Quiet Plains Revolution

ByNeal R. Peirce, Robert Guskind

The political balance of power in Lincoln was starting to change, and it was shifting dramatically. Before 1976, very few neighborhoods had a role in Lincoln's governance. Former Lincoln Mayor Helen G. Boosalis, who presided over city hall from 1975 to 1983, concluded that the Radial Highway was "too expensive, too grandiose, unnecessary, and damaging to the neighborhoods through which the corridor had been routed". Slowly, Lincoln began buying up property in Clinton, Malone, and University Place for what was to be the Northeast Radial Highway, a counterpart to a roadway running from downtown to the southeast part of town. As plans to build the highway proceeded, the University of Nebraska, always a political giant in Lincoln, began preparing a dramatic campus expansion. The Radial Highway seemed like a perfect way to speed up the expansion and future campus merger. Through Radial Reuse, in fact, neighborhood participation and communitywide planning became far stronger parts of the decision-making process in Lincoln.