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Mayor's Office Heading City Letter Head

April 21, 2003

For More Information Contact:
Lynn Johnson, Parks and Recreation Dept., 441-8265
Susan Larson Rodenburg, Lincoln Cares , 421-1401

Program received funds from more than 8 percent of Lincoln Electric System customers

Lincoln Mayor Don Wesely announced today that money donated to the “Lincoln Cares” program will fund the installation of air conditioning at the Ager Indoor Playground. The air conditioning will be installed by June 1 and is expected to increase use of the facility in Antelope Park during the hot, summer months.

The project is the first to be funded by the new voluntary donation program launched in February which allows customers of the Lincoln Electric System (LES) to add $1 to their monthly bills to fund community projects. “Lincoln Cares” is also providing scholarships to give children from low-income families an opportunity to participate in programs of the Lincoln Parks and Recreation Department.

“We are excited that Lincoln citizens have embraced this new voluntary program, allowing us to make community improvements without adding to the City budget,” Wesely said. “We expect to gain more supporters as people see the great projects being funded by the ‘Lincoln Cares’ program.”

LES reports 8.4 percent of its 103,000 customers donated to “Lincoln Cares” in March. Officials hope to increase participation to more than 10 percent by the end of the year.

From February 4 through March 31, 2003, $15,262 was donated by LES customers adding one dollar to their monthly bills and through direct donations to the Lincoln Parks and Recreation Foundation. With the 50-cent match from both TierOne Bank and World’s Foremost Bank (Cabela’s VISA operation), the gross receipts totaled $30,524.

Other projects selected to benefit from the “Lincoln Cares” program this year include:

  • Restoration of the Sunken Gardens at 27th and Capitol Parkway to provide a facelift to the nearly 70-year-old garden and make it accessible to all.
  • Renovation of the Four Wars Memorial in Antelope Park to restore the historic sculpture, which has been damaged by 70 years of exposure to extreme weather.
  • Providing air conditioning at the enclosed Bethany Park shelter to enhance participation at the summer day camp and other community activities at the shelter.

“This is a very exciting project for community,” said Lynn Johnson, City Parks and Recreation Director. “If each LES customer adds one dollar sometime during the year, ‘Lincoln Cares’ would receive $160,000. That would go a long way toward funding these important community projects.”

LES customers can donate one dollar each month through the program. The dollar is added to the LES bill ONLY if the customer pays the amount listed in the box identified as “total including Lincoln Cares donation.” Those who wish to contribute more than one dollar or those whose LES payments are on an automatic withdrawal system can send checks directly to the Lincoln Parks and Recreation Foundation, 2740 “A” Street, Box 201, Lincoln, NE 68502. Donations are tax deductible.

For more information on “Lincoln Cares,” contact the Lincoln Parks and Recreation Department at 441-8264.

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