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CITY OF LINCOLN   •   NEWS RELEASE   •   FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Date:
May , 2002
For More Information Contact:
Diane Gonzolas, Citizen Information Center, 441-7831
Terry Genrich, Parks and Recreation Department, 441-7939
Nancy Loftis, Great Plains Trails Network, 476-1111

Fund-Raising for Husker Link Trail Completed
Activities planned for National Trails Day include dedication of trailhead and station

Mayor Don Wesely and members of the Great Plains Trails Network (GPTN) announced today that the group has met the fund-raising goal of $230,000 for the Husker Link Trail project. The Husker Link will complete the MoPac Trail going west from 30th and “X” streets to about 18th Street, and it will eventually connect with the new Antelope Valley trail system.

“Trails are a vital part of our transportation system and have contributed to Lincoln being recognized as one of the most healthy and physically fit communities in the nation,” said Mayor Wesely. “In 2000, Shape magazine ranked Lincoln 4th in its ‘Fittest Cities in the U.S.’ survey, citing our excellent trail system.

“The Great Plains Trails Network has helped raise funds for previous trails projects, and I congratulate its members again for their hard work and commitment to our outstanding trails system,” said Mayor Wesely. “About 35 percent of the private funds raised are grants from corporate and community foundation donors, which shows the major interest in this project. We appreciate all donors, big and small, who have invested in our trails, which contribute so much to our quality of life in Lincoln.”

The total cost for the first phase of the project is about $745,000. This includes $250,000 for previous land acquisition and $495,000 for trail development, including additional easements. About $125,000 of GPTN’s contribution went for acquisition, and the other $105,000 will be used for development. The city’s share was $125,000 for acquisition and $90,000 for development. The remaining $300,000 will come from federal enhancement funds. Phase two includes a bridge over 27th Street, but funding has not yet identified.

“An early and generous contribution by Union Bank was very significant in helping us reach our goal,” said Nancy Loftis, GPTN President. “Union Bank’s commitment of $10,000 a year for three years demonstrated the strength of this project and helped build our donations.” Other major donors include GPTN, Alltel, Cornhusker Bank, the Lincoln Community Foundation, the Dillon Foundation, the Seacrest Foundation, the Rogers Foundation and John and Catherine Angle.

The Husker Link and five other trail projects are scheduled to be initiated or completed over the next 18 months:

  • Construction on the Highlands Trail will begin any day.
  • A new trail around the south and west parts of Oak Lake will connect with Haymarket Park.
  • A trail along Old Cheney from 56th to 70th streets will be built when that section of the street is improved.
  • The city is pursuing acquisition of the north section of the abandoned Union Pacific line, which runs through Wilderness Park. The corridor would provide a natural connection with the existing system. The southern part of this line has already been acquired by the Lower Platte South NRD, the city of Beatrice and the Nebraska Trails Foundation for the Homestead Trail. Lancaster County provided partial funding for the acquisition of the southern portion.
  • Construction is under way on an additional bridge in Wilderness Park to replace one washed out several years ago just north of Saltillo Road.

To kick off the observance of National Trail Day Saturday, June 1, the city will dedicate the Novartis Trailhead and the MoPac Station at 5 p.m. Friday, May 31st. The dedication will take place at the trailhead on the east side of 84th Street, three blocks south of “O” Street. The trailhead and the station, which includes restroom and concession facilities, were built with contributions from Novartis Consumer Health and Smith Barney.

Other events planned for National Trails Day include the annual Hyland Hundred Ride, Stride and Roll featuring a Celebrity Link Ride beginning at 8 a.m. Saturday at Peter Pan Park, 33rd and “X” streets. Local celebrities will bike the MoPac trail in relay style to the Lied Platte River Trail Bridge near South Bend. The bridge will eventually link the Lincoln and Omaha trail systems. At 1 p.m., Mayor Wesely and Omaha Mayor Mike Fahey will join links on the bridge to symbolize the commitment of both cities to the trail system.

Lincoln now has 80 miles of trails, and a recent survey indicated 66 percent of the respondents use Lincoln’s trails for biking, walking or running. Recent improvements and additions to the trail system include:

  • a new bike bridge in Wilderness Park between Pioneers Boulevard and Old Cheney Road;
  • completion of the Bison Trail, a 1.7-mile section connection the Pioneers Park trails with the rest of the city system;
  • the 84th Street Trail, being built in conjunction with the 84th Street water main and street improvement project; and
  • the completion of the Tierra/Williamsburg Trail connector and Pine Lake connector, which provide a continuous trail from Tierra Park south to Cavett Elementary School.

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