Many businesses in the shadow of the Omni Building are happy to finally have the 1300 block of Ave. K open to traffic.
"It's great," said Lubbock Personal Injury Attorney Davis Smith. "It's really good to see the traffic flowing out there. It's easier for our clients to find our building, get to the restaurant down the street. It freed up a little bit of parking too and it's just been a tremendous improvement."
"It's nice," said Back Door Diner and Catering Owner Trish Varnell. "It's still going to be a while before people realize that we are open again and they can come straight down the street, but we're seeing a lot of traffic. It's nice to look out and you know that the people are coming down the street again."
Varnell and Smith both have businesses across the street from the Omni Building in the 1200 block of Ave. K. The two said they'd like to see parking improved, even if that means tearing down the Omni.
"I think the city could do pretty well turning it into a parking lot," Smith said. "It's just a white elephant that nobody can do anything with anymore. All the fixtures are gone, the marble is gone, the fixtures inside are gone, the copper wiring and cabling inside the building are gone - the building really just needs to be torn down at this point, and we can all use parking."
"I think it would be an awesome idea because the lawyers need their customers to be able to come in," Varnell said. "We need our customers to be able to come in. And people, if they have to drive around looking for parking places, they're not going to stop. Parking is the biggest problem down here, not just for me, but for everyone. There is just not enough parking."
Varnell and Smith said they also want to make the road opening permanent. The resolution that was passed last month was to keep the road open for 30 days.
"We've got to have another city council meeting," Smith said, "try to get that extended, and if the city thinks that this building creates or constitutes a danger to the community, then they have an obligation to hire a company to come in and fix the problem."
"We have another city council meeting tomorrow night," Varnell said. "We would love everybody to come out and support us. It's not just for us, it's for the whole downtown area. We're hoping that we can get the barricades taken down for good and that they can go ahead and make some plans to at least make it look a little bit better."
Both Smith and Varnell said their job won't be finished until the Omni Building is gone for good.
"It's just beyond repair," Smith said, "it's beyond renovation, and so I think it needs to be torn down. It's just going to become a hazard."
"It's definitely an eyesore," Varnell said, "and I think that there could be something done about it. I'm grateful for what they have done, but I would like to see more done."
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