City Council Votes To Keep Streets Closed Near Omni Building

Published 05/08 2014 11:10PM

Updated 05/08 2014 11:23PM

By Monica Yantosh

LUBBOCK, TX -- After a long discussion, and comments from nearby business owners, the Lubbock City Council voted to keep the streets closed near the Omni Building, at least for now.

A few business owners in the area of the Omni Building addressed the council, sharing their frustrations over the streets being closed for a year.

While only a few people spoke to council about their feelings, there was a crowd of about 20 people wearing shirts that said 'free my street!'.

"The solution is to simply take down the barrier," one man told city council.

"We have no other avenue then to ask you to free our street, please, free our street," another told them.

Many mentioned how the streets being closed has hurt their businesses. That includes Davis Smith, an attorney with his office on the corner of 13th and Avenue K.

"For two years, I've had less clients because my property is walled off," Smith said. "It's very difficult to get to me, particularly with the one way streets. If the barriers aren't taken down, I've gotta move my business, and I don't want to do that, we need to revitalize Lubbock and the fences make it look awful."

The streets were originally closed because of safety concerns because pieces of material on the building were falling off. The City's chief building inspector told KLBK Tuesday that about 90 percent of those materials were taken off, though some were still on the building.

Those pieces that are still on the building are part of the concern.

"Though it appears most of these materials are adhering well now,what we can't guarantee you as a staff is that through further wind action this spring, that those materials wouldn't come loose," Steve O'Neal, the chief building inspector, said.

Eventually, after showing pieces that had fallen from the building and having a lot of discussion about their options, the city council voted to not re-open the streets, and instead put the item on the next city council agenda in two weeks.

Mayor Glen Robertson also mentioned the litigation the city is currently involved in, saying it was something he was not going to discuss publicly. 

At one point, the council voted to re-open one lane of the road and the sidewalk, both on the far side of the building, and have the contingency to close them again if the winds reached or exceeded 30 mph. That vote failed at 3-3.

They did, however, vote 6-0 to get the area cleaned up.

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