Mayor Chris Beutler today announced the City projects that will be funded through the 2017 Lincoln Cares community donation program. Lincoln allows customers of the Lincoln Electric System (LES) to add $1 to their monthly bill payments for Parks and Recreation, Lincoln City Libraries and Aging Partners.
“Since its inception in 2003, Lincoln Cares has raised nearly $1.5 million through donations matching funds and sponsors,” said Mayor Beutler. “I want to thank all those who have contributed in any way to the success of this public-private partnership that has provided important support for our parks, libraries and services for older adults.”
Seven media organizations will provide in-kind advertising and promotion for the program — KOLN/KGIN-TV; KLKN-TV; Alpha Media; Broadcast House; the Lincoln Journal Star; Houck Advertising; and Firespring. This year’s project partners include Lincoln Parks Foundation, Foundation for Lincoln City Libraries, Seniors Foundation, Olsson Associates, Dillon Foundation, Friends of the Dog Parks, Prairie Corridor Partnership, Culver’s and the Great Plains Trails Network.
LES customers can support Lincoln Cares by enrolling at LES/lcdonate or calling 402-475-4211. The $1 donation is automatically included on the LES bill each month, and customers can discontinue their automatic donation at any time by calling LES.
The average number of LES customers enrolled per month is 3,652. From February 2003 through April 2017, Lincoln Cares has collected $873,784 in donations from LES customers. More than $600,000 in additional funds has been contributed through direct donations to the City and from local foundations, businesses and neighborhood associations.
Programs and projects funded by Lincoln Cares are selected based on input from the Lincoln Cares Advisory Board, which includes representatives from Parks and Recreation, Lincoln City Libraries and Aging Partners as well as the community.
LINCOLN CARES PROJECTS: 2017
Fitness Equipment for Aging Partners: This includes new and replacement fitness equipment for the Forever Strong Health and Fitness Program offered to adults 60 plus in Lincoln and Lancaster County at the Aging Partners Health and Fitness Center located at 233 South 10th Street. Project Partner: Seniors Foundation.
Upgrades for Library Meeting Spaces: Several libraries offer meeting room spaces free for the public to use, and libraries use these same spaces for their own special events. This will allow for replacement of furnishings and upgrades in equipment, including new projectors for five library meeting rooms. The improvements will ensure these rooms remain the “family rooms of the community” and continue to nurture learning, connection and community. Project Partners: Dillon Foundation and the Foundation for Lincoln City Libraries.
School Family Nights at Lincoln City Libraries: These special open-house events provide an opportunity for families from neighborhood schools to receive library cards, meet their librarians, and become more familiar with what’s available at the public library. Project Partners: Woods Bros. Foundation and the Foundation for Lincoln City Libraries.
Three New Dog Runs: Parks and Recreation is developing three additional dog runs to achieve a goal of having one dog run in each of the four quadrants of the City. This plan was outlined in the Dog Use Facilities Master Plan that was finalized with community input in early 2016. Improvements funded by Parks and Recreation will include perimeter fencing and gates, parking and a shelter to house a portable restroom. Lincoln Cares funds will be used for a drinking fountain with a dog bowl at two locations. The new dog runs will be open by the end of 2017. Project Partners: Friends of the Dog Parks and Lincoln Parks Foundation.
Haines Branch Prairie Corridor: The Prairie Corridor is a 13-mile corridor that will link Pioneers Park with Spring Creek Prairie. The project will enhance and preserve tall grass prairie and provide recreational and educational connections and economic development opportunities. Project Partners: Lincoln Parks Foundation and Prairie Corridor Partnership.
Parker’s Pals: This scholarship program provides financial support for children of low-income families. It includes pool admissions, swimming lessons and participation in the swim/dive league and allows children to participate in youth and sports programs offered by Lincoln Parks and Recreation. Project Partners: Culver’s, Lincoln Parks Foundation and Olsson Associates.
Trail Wayfinding Kiosks. This project will support the second phase of a wayfinding project for trails that was initiated several years ago to make trails more user-friendly and accessible. Wayfinding signs that include distances and directions to community facilities and attractions will be installed at up to eight priority locations along trails. The final kiosk locations will be determined in cooperation with the Great Plains Trails Network. Project Partner: Great Plains Trails Network.
Successful projects funded by the Lincoln Cares program include:
Pickle Ball Courts
Woods Park Tennis Center
Drinking fountain at Rudge Park
Sunburst Park play area
Portable solar lighting for Pioneers Park Nature Center and Pinewood Bowl
Upgraded library equipment for special events
Haines Branch Prairie Corridor
Tennis backboards in the parks
Historic Pinewood Bowl entrance enhancements
Drinking fountains on trails
Nebraska’s Centennial Mall
Jayne Snyder Trail Center
Densmore Park ballfield shade structure
Aging in Place program
Mendoza Park shelter
Leading to Reading Spaces at libraries
Billy Wolff Trail solar lighting
Pioneers Park Nature Center animal care
Witherbee Park playground
Air conditioning at Belmont Park enclosed shelter
Hi-tech portable play tower
Boosalis Trail renovation
Solar-heated pool and bathhouse demonstration project
Air conditioning at Antelope Park enclosed shelter
Acquisition of prairie and grasslands at Pioneers Park
Nebraska State Liberty Bell Shelter in Antelope Park
Restoration of the Four Wars Memorial, Pioneer Woman and Bountiful Prairie sculptures
Sunken Gardens renovation
Addition to the Pioneers Park Nature Center Prairie Building
Park Middle School Teen Center
Benches along the Holmes Lake Trail Loop
Shelters at Woods Park and Bethany Park
Green Team Youth Employment Program
Youth Outdoor Adventure Program
Peach Park expansion
Trago Park shelter
Hudson Cabin and Heritage School endowment
Belmont Park natural play area
Lewis Field parking lot lighting
Tierra Park playground area lighting
Elliott School/Antelope Park/Antelope Valley Trail
Pioneers Park Nature Center art work
Jamaica North Trail Bridge
Lighting at Sunken Gardens and Pocras Park
Picnic tables at Bowling Lake
Trago Park Sprayground
Upgraded toddler play area at the Ager Play Center
Lincoln Safari program
Shooting sports facility
Parker’s Pals swim and recreation program scholarships for low-income youth.