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Mayor's Office

2006 Media Releases


Date:
January 20, 2006
For More Information Contact:
Diane Gonzolas, Citizen Information Center, 441-7831
Lynn Johnson, Parks and Recreation Dept., 441-8265
Susan Larson Rodenburg, Lincoln Cares , 421-1401


NEW PROJECTS ANNOUNCED FOR “LINCOLN CARES”
TierOne Bank Foundation, World’s Foremost Bank to match contributions for fourth consecutive year

Mayor Coleen J. Seng announced today that the Lincoln Cares program will help fund eight projects across the community in 2006, including an addition to the Nature Center Prairie Building in Pioneers Park. Lincoln Cares is a community donation program that gives Lincoln Electric System (LES) customers an opportunity to voluntarily add one dollar to their bill payments each month for projects not included in the City budget.

“The Nature Center is a City treasure that has served the community, including thousands of school children, for more than a decade,” said Mayor Seng. “The Prairie Building addition project will provide more classroom and exhibit space to further expand the Nature Center’s ability to teach visitors about Nebraska’s natural environment, its creatures, plants and their habitats.”

Donations to Lincoln Cares will provide $25,000 to strengthen the $398,000 grant application to the Nebraska Environmental Trust for the addition. Other funding partners of the Prairie Building project include the Lower Platte South Natural Resources District, the Lincoln Public Schools Foundation, the Friends of the Pioneers Park Nature Center, the Lincoln Parks Foundation and LES.

In addition to the Prairie Building project, Lincoln Cares will help fund a Sherman Field Baseball Plaza, a shelter at Woods Park, renovation of the historic Rose Garden in Antelope Park, the North 27th Street MoPac Trail Bridge, swimming and recreation program scholarships, a new outdoor adventures program for youth and the Green Team youth employment program. A complete listing of the projects is attached.

For the fourth consecutive year, Lincoln Cares will receive matching funds from TierOne Bank Foundation and World’s Foremost Bank (Cabela’s VISA credit card operation). From its inception in February 2003 through December 31, 2005, LES customers have donated $232,671 to the Lincoln Cares program. About 6,563 LES customers donate to the program every month.

TierOne Bank Foundation and World’s Foremost Bank have provided a 50-cent match for every dollar contributed, up to $30,000 each. The total corporate contribution to Lincoln Cares, from February 2003 through December. 31, 2005 equals $180,000. Total individual and corporate donations to Lincoln Cares since February 2003 is $412,671.

“Lincoln Cares is a wonderful example of a public-private partnership that is making our community a better place to live,” said Mayor Seng. “I want to thank TierOne Bank Foundation and World’s Foremost Bank for contributing to this program since its inception. Their participation means that every dollar donated by our citizens essentially doubles.”

Since 2003, Lincoln Cares has provided funds for the recently completed Nebraska State Liberty Bell Shelter in Antelope Park; restoration of the Four Wars Memorial and Pioneer Woman sculptures; the Sunken Gardens renovation; the acquisition of prairie and grasslands at Pioneers Park Nature Center; the Park Middle School Teen Center; air conditioning at the Ager Play Center and the Bethany Park Shelter; the Green Team youth employment program; and Parker’s Pals swim and recreation program scholarships for low-income youth.

“TierOne is very proud to be one of the original sponsors of the Lincoln Cares program,” said Roger Ludemann, Executive Vice President of TierOne Bank. This will be our fourth year of involvement through our TierOne Bank Foundation, and we are very committed to the long-term success of the program.”

“The World’s Foremost Bank is pleased to once again be a corporate sponsor for Lincoln Cares,” said Tom Boatman, Chief Operating Officer and Interim President of World’s Foremost Bank. “The many projects and programs that have been completed would most likely not have occurred without Lincoln Cares. As a wholly owned subsidiary of Cabela’s, we are especially excited to be a part of the 2006 scholarship program to promote outdoor activities. The success of Lincoln Cares shows that Lincoln truly does care.”

“We are very thankful for everyone who supports this program,” said Lynn Johnson, Director of the Lincoln Parks and Recreation Department. “With our tight budget, this program allows us to go the extra mile to keep the parks system one of the jewels of Lincoln.”

To donate to Lincoln Cares, LES customers can add one dollar to their bill payments each month. Those who pay LES through automatic bank billing can add Lincoln Cares to their payments each month by calling LES at 475-4211. Automatic bank bill customers may discontinue their voluntary contributions to Lincoln Cares at anytime by notifying LES.

For more information on Lincoln Cares, contact the Lincoln Parks and Recreation Department at 441-8264 or see the City’s Web site at lincoln.ne.gov (keyword: cares).

2006 Lincoln Cares Projects

Addition to the Nature Center Prairie Building at Pioneers Park - $25,000.
The Nature Center at Pioneers Park includes two small facilities – the Chet Ager Building in the woodlands and the Prairie Building on the edge of the prairie. This project would add 3,500 square feet to the Prairie Building at a total cost $750,000. The Lincoln Cares donation will be used to strengthen the $398,000 grant application to the Nebraska Environmental Trust. Other funding partners include the Lower Platte South Natural Resources District, the Lincoln Public Schools Foundation, the Friends of the Pioneers Park Nature Center, the Lincoln Parks Foundation and the Lincoln Electric System.

Parker’s Pals Swim Program Scholarships - $10,000.
Through a partnership between the Red Cross and Lincoln Parks and Recreation, scholarships for swimming lessons are provided to children from low-income families. Funding also will provide swim passes for these families and partial scholarships for participation in the Parks and Recreation swimming and diving team program.

Parker’s Pals Recreation Program Scholarships - $10,000.
Scholarships will be provided to young people from low-income families for before-school and after-school programs, summer day camps, youth sports programs and therapeutic recreation programs.

Outdoor Adventures Program for Youth (new) - $30,000.
The Outdoor Adventures Program will provide an opportunity for hundreds of low-income youth to learn basic outdoor sports skills through participation in classes, clubs, leagues and special events. Sports will include fishing, marksmanship, archery, camping, geocaching and more.

Green Team - $6,000.
Lincoln Parks and Recreation offers a summer youth employment program for low-income and at-risk youth who are 13 to 15 years of age. The program emphasizes job-training skills including preparing job applications, interviewing, reporting to work and completing assigned tasks. Participants assist in park maintenance activities, playground construction and summer day camp programs. Participants are employed six hours per day during three-week sessions. Lincoln Cares funding will be used to pay program participants for one three-week session.

Woods Park Shelter - $15,000.
The park shelter in Woods Park was razed a number of years ago due to deterioration and ongoing vandalism. The recently adopted master plan for Woods Park includes placement of a picnic shelter in the center of the park near the playground as a priority project.

Sherman Field Baseball Plaza - $25,000.
In 1998, the grandstand structure and bleachers were renovated at historic Sherman Field, Lincoln’s premier amateur baseball facility. However, the restrooms, concession area and admissions gate are in poor condition. The Plaza design would include the renovation or replacement of these features to make Sherman Field a fully usable ballpark for players and the public. The total cost of the project is estimated to be about $300,000. Lincoln Cares funding will contribute to a private fund-raising effort including grants and donation requests.

Renovation of the Antelope Park Rose Garden - $10,000.
In the 1940s, an extensive public rose display garden was developed in Antelope Park. The City rose garden moved to Woods Park in the 1960s and returned to Antelope Park in the mid-1990s. The existing rose display garden will be redeveloped and upgraded making it better suited to rose growing and celebrating the garden’s historic roots. The redeveloped rose garden will display recent AARS (All American Rose Selections) award-winning roses and class cutting roses. In addition to Lincoln Cares funding, grants and donations will be sought to support redevelopment of the AARS display garden.

Parks and Recreation staff also are proposing to establish a collection of hardy landscape roses in the strolling garden northeast of the existing rose display garden. This garden will provide visitors with an opportunity to view hardy landscape roses well suited for growing in the typical home landscape. Groups of roses will be planted with complementary ornamental grasses and flowering perennial plants. The initial planting of hardy landscape roses was funded in 2005 by a generous donation from HWS Consulting Group.

North 27th Street MoPac Trail Bridge - $6,000.
The Great Plains Trails Network (GPTN) is partnering with the City of Lincoln to raise the funds needed to construct a bicycle/pedestrian trail bridge over North 27th Street near “Y” Street. GPTN has committed to raise $125,000, which will go toward the cost of the $1.76 million project. Officials hope the bridge will be finished in 2007. This bridge will serve as a major connection on the MoPac Trail between Peter Pan Park and the UNL campus. The City applied for $500,000 in federal grants, and an additional $1 million could be provided through tax increment financing.


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