This year's Capital Improvement Program (CIP) transfer ordinance includes adjusted funding for the "N" Street protected bikeway, the Woods Tennis Center renovation and a new greenhouse. The City Council will consider the ordinance on first reading at its meeting Monday, August 10, and the public hearing will be Monday, August 17. The ordinance, which is introduced at the end of every fiscal year, is necessary to close out some capital construction projects and to adjust funding among others.
The ordinance includes transferring $510,000 in keno funds from the renovation of Nebraska's Centennial Mall to two other projects. The funding for Centennial Mall will be replaced with the same amount in leftover tax-increment financing (TIF) funding from the TIF district that previously funded renovation of Lincoln Mall.
Parks and Recreation Director Lynn Johnson said the ordinance includes redirecting $150,000 of the keno funds to the "N" Street bikeway project, but that transfer does not represent an increase in the bikeway project costs.
"When the bikeway project was included in the CIP approved by the City Council in 2012, the project's funding sources were not all identified at that point," Johnson said. "A package of funding sources, including $340,000 in private donations, are being used to fund construction and endowment of this new downtown amenity. The ""N" Street bikeway will fill a critical gap in our trails system and provides a safe, convenient route for bikers to traverse the City."
The other $360,000 in keno funds would be transferred to the Woods Tennis Center renovation project. The Tennis Center is a public-private partnership with the Friends of Woods Tennis organization. A private campaign has raised $4.1 million of the $5.6 million needed to replace the aging bubbles that cover six tennis courts with a permanent indoor facility. The additional amount brings the City's commitment to $460,000, about eight percent of the cost.
"Over 900 kids are engaged in learning and playing tennis each summer at Woods and other public courts throughout the community, and the tennis program continues to grow," said Johnson. "A renovated facility will enhance recreational opportunities for the entire community and provide opportunities to attract regional tennis tournaments that will generate additional tourism spending in our community."
The ordinance also calls for moving another $140,000 in keno funds to build a new greenhouse to support the annual floral display in the Sunken Gardens. The funds would be moved from a project to develop an irrigation well and install an irrigation system in play fields. The irrigation project would be deferred to a future year.
Johnson said tropical plants for the Sunken Gardens were formerly stored in a private greenhouse during the winter, but it was damaged by flooding earlier this year and is no longer available. He said a search for space in other private and public greenhouses was not successful.
"The greenhouse is needed to maintain the unique and beloved character of the Sunken Gardens," Johnson said. "Our only other alternatives would be to purchase tropical plants at a higher cost or to stop including tropical plants at the garden." Funding for the project also includes $30,000 in grants.
The City Council meetings August 10 and 17 begin at 3 p.m. at the County-City Building, 555 S. 10th St. More information on Parks and Recreation facilities and programs is available at parks.lincoln.ne.gov