Air Park Recreation Center & Williams Branch Library Project

Exterior of Air Park Recreation Center

Since 1979, people of all ages from Lincoln and the Arnold Heights neighborhood have enjoyed the activities and programs provided by the Air Park Recreation Center. Now more than 65 years old, the existing building is reaching the end of its useful life. It is also separated from the nearby neighborhood by a busy street, making it difficult for families and young people to get there safely.

The vision is to build a campus that includes Arnold Elementary School, Williams Branch Library, adjoining parks and recreation facilities including the Air Park Recreation Center and neighborhood improvements. Space is also reserved for the potential to replace the Arnold Heights Pool at this site in the future.

Lincoln Parks Foundation is currently seeking private funds from community partners, foundations, corporations and others who understand the need to provide a new facility that is more accessible and meets the needs of the families in this growing area.

 

Project Information

Project Vision

VISION

Our vision is to create a campus that includes the elementary school, adjoining parks and recreation facilities including the new Air Park Recreation Center and neighborhood park improvements. The new recreation center will be owned and operated by the City of Lincoln. It will provide recreation and before/after-school facilities and expanded programming for youth and adults in the area, as well as a library. Space is being reserved for the potential to replace the Arnold Heights Pool facility at this site in the future.

LIVEABLE NEIGHBORHOODS AND FAMILIES

Since 1979, people of all ages from Lincoln and the Arnold Heights neighborhood have enjoyed the activities and programs provided by the Air Park Recreation Center.

COMMUNITY

Lincoln Parks and Recreation strives to provide a public recreation center that develops positive relationships through interactions by quality servant leaders who are mindful of the needs of all members of the community.

HEALTHY LIVING FOR ALL

Classes and programming for all ages include school’s out programming for before and after school and when school is not in session, noon-time basketball, karate, kickball leagues, pickleball, Special Olympics roller-skating practice, Rock Steady Boxing for people with Parkinson’s disease and open-door senior time. Total attendance for all programs in 2018-19 was 35,396. SAFETY SAFETY Now more than 65 years old, the existing building is in need of structural repairs and renovations. It is also separated from the nearby neighborhood by a busy street, making it difficult for families and young people to get there safely.

YOUTH DEVELOPMENT

Given the fact that the existing building is in aged and is poorly located to serve the Air Park community, planning efforts were made with Lincoln Public Schools during the design of the Arnold Elementary School to co-locate a future recreation center with the school to better serve the neighborhood and Lincoln community.

 

Project Timeline

This is a general timeline for design and construction of the replacement facility for the Air Park Recreation Center and Williams Branch Library

  • Select Project Architect/Engineer for design of new building – January 2021
  • Select Construction Manager to construct new building – March 2021
  • Begin site preparation and grading activities – June 2021
  • Begin construction of new building – August 2021
  • Complete construction of new building – May 2023
  • Move rec. center/library operations into new building – June 2023
  • Complete site work and landscaping – September 2023

How can you help the project?

We want your input!

The Air Park Recreation Center and Williams Branch Library project is moving forward! The project team includes Lincoln City Libraries and Lincoln Parks and Recreation is still in the planning phases and would love to hear from the Air Park neighborhoods what they want in their neighborhood center.  The neighborhood was asked for input from a short survey in late February and March 2021. Staff will work with the architects to develop the facility plan before moving forward with public meetings in the spring.

Funding

Lincoln Parks Foundation is seeking private funds from community partners, foundations, corporations and individuals who understand the need to provide a new facility that is more accessible and meets the needs of the families of this growing area.

As a private 501(c)3 non-profit organization, Lincoln Parks Foundation enlists the help of generous people to help sustain and improve our community parks and recreation system.

For more information, contact:

Lincoln Parks Foundation

402-441-8258

LincolnParks.org

Director@LincolnParks.org

 

 

Current facilities

 

Recreation Center History

Basketball players in the Air Park gym. 1976.

The Air Force Base

from the 1964 Air Force Base manual

The base has facilities for using the equipment, including a tennis court, a lighted football field is laid out. A swimming pool is available near the NCO Club and also the Officers Club. Also provided is a field for the use of model airplane hobbyists.

 The base sponsors a judo team which offers exhibitions on the base, in Lincoln, and surrounding communities.

A bowling alley is also available for the bowling fans. There are 10 lanes and they are equipped with AMF Automatic Pinsetters. The bowling alley is air-conditioned and has a snack bar located inside. The alley is open 1100 to 2400 hours seven days a week. Open bowling available.

Arnold Heights Center, 1979

History of the Air Park (Arnold Heights) Recreation Center

1954: The building that houses the current Air Park Recreation Center was built as part of the Lincoln Air Base facilities. It is located east of NW 48th Street at 3720 NW 46th Street in northwest Lincoln.

1979: Air Park Recreation Center opens to serve families of the Arnold Heights neighborhood. It includes a gym, fitness/weight room, computer/study room and a game/activity room.

2013: Arnold Elementary School is relocated west of NW 48th Street. Space reserved for relocation of the Air Park Recreation Center next to the school.

2020: Parks and Recreation Advisory Board approves master plan for the Air Park Recreation Center Replacement project.

The old days

Air Park originally started its life as Arnold Heights Recreation Center. Arnold Heights was created in January of 1971 to serve the students of Arnold Elementary School and low-income families in the Arnold Heights area. The Director of this center and a champion for offering programs for low-income families, Emma Roseberry made sure that the City of Lincoln offered opportunities for every citizen. Arnold Heights Recreation Center became so popular that classes were being added very frequently, and soon the center itself was unable to hold the amount of people and activities that were required of it. Roseberry continued to work for Arnold Heights, requesting that the Lincoln Parks and Recreation Department find a solution to help families and students in the Arnold Heights area. 
Chess game at Air Park Recreation Center. 1970s
In the late 1960s and early 1970s, the City of Lincoln began developing an area of land near the Lincoln Airport. The area was notably named Air Park. Neighborhoods, shopping centers, and companies started sprouting up in this area like wildfire. This exponential growth was happening right next door to the Arnold Heights neighborhood, directly affecting everything from its schools to its recreation center. In 1973 it was decided that Arnold Heights Recreation Center could no longer adequately provide for the growth that the area was experiencing. A new, more centrally located recreation center would be created to provide for families and students in the Arnold Heights and Air Park neighborhoods. The Air Park Recreation Center was dedicated and opened in 1974. The new recreation center served community members with a variety of needs and interests, from students needing physical activity and stimulation after school, adults wanting to learn a new skill in classes offered, to groups joining together and playing in tournament sports.

As of 1979 Emma Roseberry was the director of the recreation center.

 

Just Recently

In 2018 it was announced that Air Park would undergo major renovations. In the 44 years since its construction, the area of town had grown more, and the recreation center could no longer hold the facilities needed to support its needs. Today, Air Park serves the community in the same ways it has since its beginning. Through the efforts of Emma Roseberry and many directors after her, Air Park will continue to be improved to be a staple in the Air Park and Arnold Heights communities. 

Exterior of Air Park Recreation Center

Library History

Dan A. Williams Branch Library

Williams Branch Library interior

The Dan A. Williams Branch Library opened on September 8, 2009, in the new Arnold Elementary School, replacing the converted Housing Authority duplex that served as the area's library since 1973.  The partnership with Lincoln Public Schools offered an excellent opportunity for Lincoln City Libraries to provide a state-of-the-art facility to the growing neighborhood.

Gifts from the Foundation for Lincoln City Libraries  helped to make the space a comfortable space for the public and students of the connected Arnold Elementary School.  Memorial donations helped to furnish the youths pace as well as gifts allowed amenities such as a fireplace and comfortable reading space to be included.

 

About Dan A. Williams

"Mr. Williams supported  efforts to fight racism and discrimination, and to create a vibrant community for all people." - Pat Leach, Lincoln City Libraries Director in a December 1, 2009 Lincoln Journal Star article.

Dan A. Williams (1915-2008) was born and raised in Lincoln, Nebraska. He graduated from University of Nebraska - Lincoln, where he received his BA degree , magna cum laude, and was elected to Phi Beta kappa. He did graduate work and taught at the University of Nebraska, Columbia University, and at the new York School for Social Research in new York City. he was active in Nebraskans for Peace, United nations Association- Lincoln Chapter, the Lincoln Lincoln Chapter of NAACP. Dan was a founding member of Citizens Against Racism and Discrimination (CARD), a Lincoln-based organization dedicated to promoting harmony and trust among  persons with different ethnic and racial backgrounds. He also served a seven-year library board term from 1991 through 1998.

In recognition of his service as a trustee of the Lincoln Library Board, the public library was named The Dan A. Williams Branch Library and was dedicated in the fall of 2009.

 "The time has come to offer library services in a new place, named for a man whose life was dedicated to creating a strong community, " said Mayor Chris Beutler. (December 1, 2009 Lincoln Journal Star article.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Location

3720 NW 46th St, Lincoln 68524  View Map

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