Mayor Chris Beutler today that three more Parks and Recreation projects have been completed with funds from Lincoln Cares, a community donation program which allows Lincoln Electric System (LES) customers to voluntarily add one dollar to their monthly bill payments for projects not included in the City budget. The projects are Smoke Signal restoration in Pioneers Park, Witherbee Park enhancement and the solar-heated pool demonstration project at Woods Pool.
"Since Lincoln Cares began eight years ago, LES customers have donated more than $577,000 through this public-private partnership," said Beulter. "Direct donations, partnerships and matching funds have raised the total to more than a million dollars. This has had a huge impact on our Parks system and has added to the quality of life for everyone in our community."
The Smoke Signal sculpture created by Ellis Burman in 1935 is a landmark in Pioneers Park. The 16-foot cast concrete piece sits on a Dakota Sandstone outcropping and depicts Chief Red Cloud sending a smoke signal with a blanket. The project included cleaning and sealing the concrete, enhancing the landscape, restoring the retaining wall and creating fiberglass feathers to replace those lost to vandalism. Lincoln Cares provided $20,000, which was matched with a $20,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts Access to Artistic Excellence Fund.
The enhancement of the Witherbee Park Play Area at 46th and "O" streets continues the City's emphasis on providing outdoor play and activity areas in neighborhoods to help the development of social, physical and cognitive development in children. Lincoln Cares provided $20,000, which was matched with $6,000 from the Witherbee Neighborhood Association, $1,000 from a Modern Woodmen Good Neighbors Grant, donated materials including benches by TMCO, Inc., and a large volunteer effort.
Solar panels have been installed on the roof of the mechanical building serving Woods Pool at 33rd and "J" streets. Pool water is pumped to the panels where it is pre-heated by the sun's energy before passing through the traditional water heater powered by natural gas. The solar heating reduces the pool's overall energy consumption. The system can be expanded to increase the water heating capabilities of the solar panels.
Partners in Lincoln Cares have included Pepsi, Lincoln Benefit Life, Culver's Restaurants, Lincoln Parks Foundation, Lincoln Community Foundation's Ken Good Fund, Great Plains Trails Network , Friends of Pioneers Park Nature Center, Lincoln Area Retired Teachers, Olsson Associates Community Builders, and Michael Sucha Memorial Fund/Annual Memorial Golf Tournament.
The 2011 Lincoln Cares projects include Nebraska's Centennial Mall; Sherman Field support facilities; the Jayne Snyder Trails Center at Union Plaza; street trees; Pioneers Park Nature Center endowment for animal care; a spectator seating shade structure at Densmore Park; and Parker's Pals Scholarships. A complete listing of all Lincoln Cares projects is available at LincolnCares.org
"Thank you to everyone who contributes each month with their LES payment," said Lincoln Parks and Recreation Director Lynn Johnson. "These important dollars are used to make needed improvements in our parks, and to provide scholarship opportunities for low-income youth to participate in a variety of recreation programs and activities,"
Lincoln Cares offers several donation options:
More information on Lincoln Cares is available by calling 402-441-8264 or visiting LincolnCares.org.