Mayor Don Wesely said today has been an historic one for the City of Lincoln, as the State Legislature approved $15 million in funding to initiate the Antelope Valley Project and as the city prepares for the opening of Haymarket Park and Lincoln's first professional baseball game in 40 years.
"Today, we celebrate baseball, Antelope Valley and the importance of partnership," Wesely said. "No one individual or entity can make projects like these happen. Antelope Valley and Haymarket Park are examples of how much we can accomplish when we work together in a spirit of cooperation."
Wesely thanked Governor Mike Johanns and the State Legislature for their support of a plan to use $1 million in cigarette taxes for 15 years for Antelope Valley, a flood control, traffic improvement and neighborhood revitalization project in the heart of the city.
This morning, Wesely declared Friday, June 1 as "Lincoln Saltdogs Day" in the city in honor of the new Northern League team's home opener at the new Haymarket Park tomorrow evening. He also declared June 1 through 3 as "Cornhusker Baseball Weekend" in Lincoln in honor of the UNL baseball team playing in and hosting the super regional, the last college baseball games to be played at Buck Beltzer Stadium. Haymarket Park will become the new home of the UNL baseball team next season. (The wording of both proclamations follows this release.)
Mayor Wesely said the Antelope Valley and Haymarket Park Projects involve many of the same partners -- the University of Nebraska; the Board of Regents; the Lower Platte South Natural Resource District; the Burlington-Northern and Santa Fe Railway; the Union Pacific Railroad; Nebco, Inc. and Saltdog owner Jim Abel; the Lincoln City Council; the Lancaster County Board; the city Public Works Department and other city staff; the Railroad Transportation Safety District; the Chamber of Commerce; the Downtown Lincoln Association; the historic Haymarket district; state government; the Army Corp of Engineers and other federal government agencies; Congressman Doug Bereuter; Senator Ben Nelson; and neighborhood organizations.
"It's a long list of partners, but it is symbolic of the way the entire community has pulled together to work on these two projects -- developments that will have a long-lasting positive impact on our city," said Wesely.
Whereas, baseball is part of the fabric of this nation and an excellent family activity; and
Whereas, Lincoln's professional baseball tradition dates back to 1886, only 19 years after the city was established; and
Whereas, a unique partnership among the City of Lincoln, the University of Nebraska and local businessman Jim Abel has succeeded in returning professional baseball to the Capital City; and
Whereas, Haymarket Park, which includes a 4,500-seat baseball stadium and a 2,000-seat softball stadium, is one of the premier facilities of its kind in the nation; and
Whereas, Haymarket Park is the new home of the Lincoln Saltdogs of the Northern League and the University of Nebraska- Lincoln baseball and softball teams; and
Whereas, the activities of Haymarket Park will bring new visitors to the city and result in many economic benefits; and
Whereas, the Lincoln Saltdogs home opener June 1, 2001 will be the first professional baseball game played in Lincoln in nearly 40 years, since the Lincoln Chiefs played their last home game September 5, 1961; Now, therefore, I, Don Wesely, Mayor of the City of Lincoln, do hereby proclaim the day of June 1, 2001 as "Lincoln Saltdogs Day" in the City of Lincoln and urge all citizens to take part in celebrating the return of professional baseball to our community.