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2005 Media Releases

January 21, 2005
For More Information Contact:
Diane Gonzolas, Citizen Information Center, 441-7831
Lynn Johnson, Parks and Recreation Dept., 441-8265
Susan Larson Rodenburg, Lincoln Cares , 421-1401

New Projects Announced For "Lincoln Cares"
Funds will provide shelter for public display of Nebraska Liberty Bell

Mayor Coleen J. Seng announced today that the Lincoln Cares program will provide funding for the public display of the Nebraska Liberty Bell, which has been in storage for most of the past 50 years. The construction of a Liberty Bell shelter in Antelope Park is one of eight projects that will be funded in 2005 through the voluntary donation program. Lincoln Cares allows Lincoln Electric System (LES) customers to add one dollar to their bill each month for park improvements.

“The Nebraska Liberty Bell is a full-size replica of the original Liberty Bell in Philadelphia and even has the same tone,” said Mayor Seng. “We are very pleased that Lincoln Cares will provide a permanent home for it in Antelope Park between the Veterans Memorial Garden and the War and Victory memorial. Future generations will enjoy the bell and its fascinating history.”

In 1950, the U.S. Department of the Treasury, with private funding assistance, commissioned the casting of 55 full-sized replicas of the Liberty Bell. It was part of a savings bond drive with the slogan of “Save for Your Independence.” These bells were shipped as gifts to states and territories to be displayed and rung on patriotic occasions. Nebraska’s bell has been stored at a warehouse at the Nebraska Army National Guard Facilities Maintenance Office.

In addition to the bell project, Lincoln Cares will help fund a Sherman Field Baseball Plaza, the Jamaica North Trail Bridge, a basketball court in Belmont Park, a trail along Huntington and Leighton Avenue, benches along the new trail loop in Holmes Park, swimming and recreation program scholarships and the Green Team. A complete listing of the projects is attached.

For the third consecutive year, Lincoln Cares will receive funds from TierOne Bank Foundation and World’s Foremost Bank (Cabela’s VISA Operation), which provide a 50-cent match for every dollar contributed, up to $30,000 each.

“We feel tremendous about this partnership to help the community’s parks system. It’s one of Lincoln’s greatest assets and the TierOne Bank Foundation is very happy to be a part of this program to help make Lincoln a better place for everyone,” said Roger Ludemann, Executive Vice President of TierOne Bank.

In the first 23 months of the program, $154,051 was contributed to Lincoln Cares. With corporate matching funds, the receipts totaled $274,051. An average of 6,600 LES customers donate to the program every month. Since 2003, Lincoln Cares has provided funds for air conditioning at the Ager Play Center and the Bethany Shelter; the Sunken Gardens renovation; restoration of the War and Victory and Pioneer Woman sculpture in Antelope Park; the Park Middle School Teen Center; and the acquisition of prairie and grasslands at Pioneers Park Nature Center. In 2004 alone, Lincoln Cares provided more than 5,600 scholarships for children to participate in Parks and Recreation programs.

“We are very thankful for everyone who supports this program. With our tight budget, it allows us to go the extra mile to keep the parks system one of the jewels of Lincoln,” said Lynn Johnson, Lincoln Parks and Recreation Director.

“We hope that our continued support of this program will help it grow in the future,” said Tom Boatman of World’s Foremost Bank. “We’ve seen how our contribution has benefitted the lives of many young people in Lincoln who’ve received the opportunity to participate in Parks and Recreation programs which they wouldn’t have otherwise. It’s a small step that everyone can do to help make Lincoln a better place to live.”

To donate to Lincoln Cares, LES customers can add one dollar to their bills each month. Those who pay LES through automatic bank billing can add Lincoln Cares to their payments each month by calling LES at 475-4211. Automatic bank bill customers may discontinue their voluntary contribution to Lincoln Cares at anytime by notifying LES. For more information on Lincoln Cares, contact the Lincoln Parks and Recreation Department at 441-8264 or see the City’s Web site at (keyword: Cares).

2005 Lincoln Cares Projects

Nebraska Liberty Bell Shelter - $15,000. Funds will be used to purchase materials for a park shelter for the public display of the bell in Antelope Park. The Veterans Memorial Garden Advisory Council will contribute an additional $10,000. The Parks and Recreation Department and the Lincoln Parks and Recreation Foundation will work with donated labor from local builders to construct the building.

Sherman Field Baseball Plaza - $25,000. In 1998, the grandstand structure and bleachers were renovated at historic Sherman Field, Lincoln's premier amateur baseball facility. The Plaza project will replace or renovate the restrooms, concessions area and admissions gate to make Sherman Field a fully usable ballpark for players and the public. The total cost of the project is estimated at about $300,000, which is being raised through grants and other donations.

Jamaica North Trail Bridge - $10,000. Funds will be used to convert the existing railroad bridge for trail use. The Jamaica North Trail is a 6.5-mile abandoned rail corridor extending north from about 27th Street and Saltillo Road, the site of the historic town of Jamaica.

Basketball Court in Belmont Park - $5,000. A basketball half-court will be built next to the Belmont Recreation Center for use by neighborhood residents and those attending programs at the recreation center.

Trail along Huntington/Leighton Avenue, 33rd to 48th streets - $20,000. The University of Nebraska - Lincoln is donating right of way and providing funding for the $1 million project in cooperation with the Lower Platte South Natural Resources District and the City of Lincoln. The trail will connect University Place Park and the new Fleming Fields Recreational Sports Park. It also connects to the Dietrich Trail and will provide UNL students with access to East Campus.

Benches along the new Trail Loop in Holmes Park - $6,000. The current renovation of Holmes Lake and Park includes a 2.5-mile recreational trail loop around the lake. Lincoln Cares funding will be used to purchase and install 10 benches along the new trail loop and at fishing access points.

Parker's Pals Swim and Recreation Program Scholarships - $20,000. Lincoln Cares funds will be used to provide scholarships to economically disadvantaged children for swimming lessons through a partnership between the Red Cross and Lincoln Parks and Recreation. In addition, funding will provide swim passes to low-income children and families and partial scholarships for participation in the Parks and Recreation swim and dive team program. Lincoln Cares funds also will be used to provide scholarships to economically disadvantaged children and youth for before- and after-school programs, summer day camps, youth sports programs and therapeutic recreation programs.

Green Team - $10,000. Lincoln Cares funding will be used to pay participants in the Lincoln Parks and Recreation summer youth employment program for low-income and at-risk youth ages 13 through 15. The program emphasizes job-training skills, including preparation of a job application, interviewing and completing assigned work tasks. Participants assist in park maintenance activities, playground construction and summer day camp programs. Participants are employed six hours per day during three-week sessions. Matching grant funds will be sought.

Mayor's Office    Media Releases