Mayor Don Wesely and the Lincoln Parks and Recreation Foundation today kicked off a $1 million fund-raising project to renovate the City’s aging Sunken Gardens at 27th Street and Capitol Parkway. The campaign, called “Polishing the Gem: Preserving Our National Treasure,” will fund the first major renovation of the Gardens in its 73-year history.
“The Sunken Gardens is one of the public’s favorite park areas in our City,” said Mayor Wesely. “With this renovation, we will increase the safety and accessibility of the Gardens and preserve this important part of our history for future generations to enjoy.”
Lincoln Parks and Recreation Director Lynn Johnson said the Gardens’ aging infrastructure is creating safety concerns, limiting accessibility and increasing maintenance. The renovation will include a new handicapped-accessible entrance, an entry pavilion, a restored cascading water feature, new sculptural elements, restrooms, maintenance storage, renovated lily pools, an automated irrigation system and lighting.
The total cost of the project is $1.7 million. The City has committed $100,000 in funds from the Capital Improvement Program each year for two years. Another $536,000 has been donated from individuals, foundations and businesses, leaving about $1 million to be raised.
In a public opinion survey conducted in 2000 by the Parks and Recreation Department, nearly two-thirds of the respondents indicated they had visited the City’s display gardens during the past year. When asked about what types of park services the City needed more of, display gardens finished first, with more than half of the respondents choosing that category.
“This renovation is a priority for the City, but our budget resources cannot fund the entire project,” said Mayor-Elect Coleen Seng. “I want to commend the Parks and Recreation Foundation for taking the lead on this important project.”
Co-Chairing the campaign for the Lincoln Parks and Recreation Foundation are Mike Seacrest and Roger and JeNeane Dodson. They hope to complete the campaign by the end of 2003.
The beds would be under construction in 2004 and would not be planted during that year. The newly renovated Sunken Gardens would be unveiled in the spring of 2005.
More information is available on the campaign web site, www.lincolnsunkengardens.com. Tax-deductible contributions can be sent to the: