Lincoln Wrapped 2023: Reflecting on Lincoln’s Greatest Hits
I hope you are spending this holiday season surrounded by the warmth of family and friends and getting to rest, recharge, and reflect on the past year.
Looking back on 2023, we can be proud of having produced enough hits to fill several playlists! Our dedicated City of Lincoln team and remarkable residents continued to work together to amplify the safety and success of our community. What we accomplished this year resonated on the national level. We ranked as the 5th safest capital city in America and, for the second year in a row, the 6th best run city out of 150 nationwide.
So, before the year wraps, let’s enjoy taking stock of our greatest hits from 2023!
Protecting the safety of all Lincoln families
Public safety is our top priority. Throughout 2023, we invested in the partnerships, training, equipment, and facilities that our public safety professionals need to keep themselves and our growing city safe.
We opened the doors to the Lincoln Police Department’s new Northeast Team Station, which supports our officers and LPD’s ability to serve this fast-growing area of our community. This summer, we launched our new Alternate Response Program, a partnership between LPD and CenterPointe to enhance our response to calls for service involving unsheltered residents. To support Lincoln Fire and Rescue’s ability to provide even quicker response times and better health outcomes, we added two new fire engines, two new ladder trucks, one new brush rig, 115 pieces of lifesaving equipment, as well as a new, now fully-staffed ambulance. To keep pace with our growing city, we also secured a $5.9 million grant to hire up to 18 new firefighters and paramedics.
These investments save lives. LFR and our medical professionals continue to save the lives of residents experiencing non-traumatic cardiac arrest at a rate nearly double the national average.
Growing economic prosperity
As the public-private partnerships that fuel Lincoln’s growth continue to prove, it takes two to tango. Our City’s Urban Development team incentivized over $300 million in economic development projects that will soon add affordable housing, a large warehouse and distribution facility, and streetscape and lighting enhancements to our Downtown and Haymarket Districts.
These are just the latest in a string of projects the City supported this year. Together with our private sector partners, we celebrated the expansion of local businesses, the groundbreaking of new hotels, and the home of a future data center for Google.
Workforce development took center stage in our efforts to grow a vibrant economy. In February, we opened the doors to our new American Job Center downtown, which connected more people to job opportunities than ever before. We further helped create multiple pathways to meaningful careers, deploying American Rescue Plan funds to support training programs in high demand fields, like manufacturing, I.T., and early childhood education, that served hundreds of residents.
Our vibrant city economy exists in harmony with our high quality of life. This summer, we welcomed residents to our new Air Park Community Center and Williams Branch Library, enabling them to build health, literacy, and friendships under one roof. We hit a high note for our seniors’ and veterans’ quality of life when we relocated our Aging Partners center to Victory Park.
Building infrastructure that supports a strong and resilient Lincoln
As we grew in 2023, we reinvested resources from that growth into infrastructure that fuels our economy and makes us a stronger, more resilient city.
A chorus of community leaders helped us select the Missouri River as the destination for our second water source. Securing a second source of water will strengthen Lincoln’s economic and environmental resilience for decades to come.
We increased the tempo of progress on our streets, too. We invested $44 million this year to construct and improve 44 lane miles of residential and arterial streets. We launched our Electric Vehicle Readiness Plan this summer. This plan – the first of its kind in Nebraska – is laying the foundation for our continued transition to electric vehicles and a climate-smart future. We’re leading by example from City Hall where we have already transitioned 75% of our Star Tran buses and over a quarter of our light fleet to electric or alternatively-fueled vehicles.
We also took steps to strengthen the resilience of our local food system. In July, we announced our Local Food System Plan, designed to increase and ensure access for all to healthy food, boost local food production, promote food production methods that protect the environment, and reduce food waste.
Creating a more equitable and inclusive community
Our hits are that much greater when all Lincoln residents can add their voices. Throughout 2023, we worked to advance the vision of our One Lincoln initiative where all residents enjoy true belonging and experience equal opportunity to reach their full human potential.
Fundamental to our vision of building an even more equitable and inclusive city is growing the supply of high-quality, affordable housing. On that note, my administration has now incentivized the creation of over 1,800 new or rehabilitated affordable housing units since 2020, putting us well ahead of schedule to meet our ambitious goal to create 5,000 new or rehabilitated affordable units by 2030.
We announced our plans to build the city’s first fully-inclusive playground, with support from community stakeholders and a $400,000 federal grant secured by our Parks and Recreation team. We advanced our commitment to make local government more equitable, inclusive, and competitive for top talent when we became the first municipality in Nebraska to provide employees with paid parental leave.
As 2023 wraps, I want to thank you again for all you do to keep our city moving forward to a fantastic beat. May your new year be filled with health, happiness, friends, and loved ones – the true soundtrack for the great life we lead, live, and love in Lincoln.