Mayor Chris Beutler and the Lincoln Parks Foundation today announced a $600,000 gift to Union Plaza from the Lincoln Community Foundation on behalf of the Sheila Dickinson Dinsmore Graf and Burket Graf Fund. The funds will be used to build the park's outdoor amphitheater and surrounding trails.
"The Grafs generosity toward the City of Lincoln is inspiring," said Mayor Chris Beutler. "It's also an indication of the strength of our parks system and the community support for our parks. We understand the importance of parks in both our quality of life and our economic development efforts. We will continue to work diligently to find ways to leverage private resources with public dollars whenever possible to create lasting legacies."
Union Plaza, Lincoln's newest park, is in a three-block area in the heart of Lincoln between 21st and 22nd streets from "O" to "R" streets. Phase one of the project is now complete, and the entire project is expected to open to the public in the fall of 2011. The amphitheater will host musical and cultural performances and community celebrations.
Burket Graf, who passed away in 2007, was an architect for 65 years. Barbara Bartle, President of the Lincoln Community Foundation, said Sheila, who passed away in 1996, had a passion for the environment and for assisting those in economic need, and Burket loved the performing and visual arts.
"Sheila and Burket were well loved by all those who came in contact with them," Bartle said. "This gift is presented on their behalf and will continue their story of generosity toward our community well into the future. This gift mirrors their passions as it will enhance the artistic culture of our community and will help to revitalize an underserved area."
More information on Union Plaza is available on the website of the Lincoln Parks Foundation, lincolnparks.org. More information on the Lincoln Parks and Recreation Department is available at parks.lincoln.ne.gov. More information on the Lincoln Community Foundation is available at lcf.org.