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2011 Media Releases

March 24, 2011
For More Information Contact:
Diane Gonzolas, Citizen Information Center, 402-441-7831
Lynn Johnson, Parks and Recreation, 402-441-8265
Susan Larson Rodenburg, Lincoln Cares, 402-440-3227

New Projects Announced For "Lincoln Cares"

Mayor welcomes project partners

Mayor Chris Beutler today announced that the Lincoln Cares program will help fund seven projects and programs across the community in 2011. Lincoln Cares is a community donation program, which allows Lincoln Electric System (LES) customers to voluntarily add one dollar to their bill payments each month for projects not included in the City budget.

The Mayor made the announcement at Nebraska's Centennial Mall, one of the 2011 projects.

Other new projects are 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 list of new and former Lincoln Cares projects follows this release.)

Mayor Beutler announced a new category for Lincoln Cares sponsorship. Project sponsors providing matching funds for the projects include the Lincoln Parks Foundation, Culver's, the Lincoln Community Foundation Ken Good Fund, the Great Plains Trails Network, Friends of Pioneers Park Nature Center, Lincoln Area Retired School Personnel, Olsson Associates Community Builders, Michael Sucha Memorial Fund/Annual Memorial Golf Tournament.

Mayor Beutler also thanked all five Lincoln media organizations which, for the second consecutive year, are providing $30,000 of in-kind advertising and promotion of Lincoln Cares. With last year's contribution, local media will provide a total of $300,000 in free promotion for this community donation program. Media sponsors are: KOLN/KGIN-TV, KLKN-TV, Three Eagles Communications, NRG Media/Broadcast House and the Lincoln Journal Star.

"Lincoln Cares has grown to become a significant community effort that gives every citizen in Lincoln the opportunity to support and enhance our great parks system," said Mayor Beutler. "This is a tremendous example of a public-private partnership which makes our great city even stronger."

From its inception in February 2003 through February 2011, Lincoln Cares has collected $559,097 from LES customers adding a dollar to their bill payments. An average of 5,765 LES customers donate to the program every month. Another $11,225.96 has been contributed through direct donations to the Lincoln Parks Foundation and through partnerships with Pepsi, Lincoln Benefit Life, Olsson Associates and Culver's Restaurants. The total for all collections since Lincoln Cares began is $1,047,882.

"We greatly appreciate everyone who continues to put the 'cares' in the Lincoln Cares program," said Lynn Johnson, Director of the Lincoln Parks and Recreation Department. "Our generous project sponsors, media sponsors and those people who add the extra dollar to their LES payment every month are making a visible and meaningful difference in our community."

To donate to Lincoln Cares, LES customers can add one dollar to their bill payments each month. Those who pay LES through automatic bank billing can add Lincoln Cares to their payments each month by calling LES at 402-475-4211. Donations also can be mailed directly to the Lincoln Parks Foundation, 2740 "A" Street, Box 201, Lincoln, NE 68502 or made online at More information on Lincoln Cares is available by calling 402-441-8264 or visiting

2011 Lincoln Cares Projects

The Lincoln Cares Advisory Board approved the following projects to be funded in 2011:

Nebraska's Centennial Mall — $20,000
A major renovation is planned for Nebraska's Centennial Mall, which extends from the State Capitol seven blocks north on what would be 15th Street to the UNL City Campus. The renovation will create durable accessible walkways along with expanded lawn and landscape areas and updated fountains. Centennial Mall was built in 1967 to commemorate the State's centennial and is part of the City Parks system.
Sherman Field Support Facilities — $20,000
Sherman Field is a 53-year-old historic baseball facility owned by the City. Many of its support facilities (restrooms, parking and areas for ticket collection, concessions, maintenance and storage) are in need of renovation, replacement and/or expansion to better serve users and visitors and to more efficiently operate the facilities. The improvements have been designed to recognize and celebrate the historic significance of the ballpark. Project sponsor: Culver's
Jayne Snyder Trails Center at Union Plaza — $10,000
Great Plains Trails Network (GPTN) has committed to raise $250,000 in matching funds for the proposed Jayne Snyder Trails Center to be located in the heart of Antelope Valley. To further enhance access to and enjoyment of trails activities, a new building is planned at the new festival plaza and amphitheater in Union Plaza Park. The building will provide space for restrooms, a sheltered meeting area and spaces furnished for lounging and social gathering. Located at the hub of the city's extensive trails system, it is a natural point for distribution of trails and visitor information. Space for shops, refreshments, concessions, retail, bicycle repair/rental and other uses will be developed with private businesses. Project sponsor: Great Plains Trails Network.
Pioneers Park Nature Center Endowment for Animal Care — $10,000
For 47 years, the Pioneers Park Nature Center has provided outdoor education for all ages, and nearly 300,000 people visit each year. The Nature Center has grown from 40 acres to 668 acres of woodland, wetland and prairie habitat with eight miles of trails; two interpretive buildings; outdoor animal exhibits; bird, herb and prairie gardens; and a natural play area. An endowment fund will provide ongoing care and food for the small animals exhibited in the buildings. Project sponsor: Friends of Pioneers Park Nature Center.
Parker's Pals Scholarships — $10,000
Funds are used to provide scholarships to children from low-income families for swimming lessons through a partnership with the Red Cross and Lincoln Parks and Recreation. In 2010, Lincoln Cares provided 373 free pool admissions, 691 reduced pool admissions, 76 scholarships for swim lessons and 17 scholarships for the swimming and diving team. Lincoln Cares also funded one scholarship for the Nature Center preschool program, 36 scholarships for girls and boys basketball programs, one before- and after-school program scholarship, three scholarships for summer day camps, 400 mixed youth/adult developmental play attendances at Ager therapeutic program and 306 recreational swim lessons at Little Links winter swim program. Project sponsor: Lincoln Area Retired School Personnel and Olsson Associates Community Builders.
Densmore Ball Field Spectator Seating Shade Structure — $7,200
The shade structure will be mounted over a bleacher in Densmore Park to provide shade and safety from foul balls for baseball spectators. Project sponsor: Michael Sucha Memorial Fund/Annual Memorial Golf Tournament.
Street Trees — $5,000
One of the hallmarks of Lincoln's quality of life is its community forest, which is a prominent feature of its landscape with more than 125,000 public trees. Since 1976, Lincoln has been nationally recognized as a Tree City USA. Administered by the Lincoln Parks and Recreation Department, the City of Lincoln's Street Trees program provides matching grants to property owners who plant trees on city property. Project sponsor: Lincoln Community Foundation Ken Good Fund.

Projects funded in the first eight years of the Lincoln Cares program include:

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