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2008 Media Releases

February 14, 2008
For More Information Contact:
Diane Gonzolas, Citizen Information Center, 441-7831
Lynn Johnson, Parks and Recreation, 441-8265
Susan Larson Rodenburg, Lincoln Cares 421-1401

Community donation program has new corporate matching sponsor

Mayor Chris Beutler today announced that the Lincoln Cares program will help fund seven projects across the community in 2008. 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 the Ager Indoor Play Center, which received air conditioning during the first year of the Lincoln Cares program in 2003.

The Mayor also announced that Lincoln Cares has a third corporate matching sponsor – Time Warner Cable. As a sponsor, Time Warner is providing a 50-cent match for every dollar contributed, up to $30,000 for the next three years. The match began February 1. In addition, Time Warner has agreed to provide $30,000 for each of the next three years for on-air promotion of Lincoln Cares on cable channels. For the sixth consecutive year, Lincoln Cares also will receive $30,000 each year in matching funds from TierOne Bank Foundation and World’s Foremost Bank, issuer of the Cabela’s Club VISA.

“Lincoln residents love their parks, so it’s appropriate that we are making this announcement on Valentine’s Day,” said Mayor Beutler. “In just five years, Lincoln Cares has had a major impact on our parks system. Generous donations from LES customers have really helped us stretch our City resources. The matching funds from TierOne Bank Foundation, Cabela’s World’s Foremost Bank and now Time Warner Cable are making each individual donation go farther. I want to thank all those involved in this outstanding public-private partnership that is truly making a difference in Lincoln.”

“We’re very grateful to the Lincoln community and are proud to be able to support this project and make Lincoln an even better place to live and do business,” said Ann Shrewsbury, Director of Public Affairs for Time Warner. “We have nearly 300 employees who are proud to call Lincoln home, and this was another great way for us to give back to them as well as show our appreciation to customers here.”

In 2008, Lincoln Cares will help fund Trago Park renovation ($30,000); the development of Lincoln’s Central Park ($20,000); the Outdoor Adventures Program ($15,000); Parker’s Pals Scholarships ($15,000); Pocras Park lighting ($4,000); Bountiful Harvest sculpture repair and installation ($4,000); and Bowling Lake Park picnic tables ($3,000). (More details on the projects are attached.)

From its inception in February 2003 through January 2008, Lincoln Cares has collected $376,340 from LES customers adding a dollar to their bill payments and through direct donations to the Lincoln Parks Foundation. An average of 6,273 LES customers donate to the program every month. The total corporate contribution to Lincoln Cares from February 2003 through December 31, 2007 is about $300,000, bringing the total donation to more than $679,000.

Other projects funded in the first five years of the program include the Nebraska State Liberty Bell Shelter in Antelope Park; restoration of the Four Wars Memorial and Pioneer Woman sculptures; the Sunken Gardens renovation; the acquisition of prairie and grasslands at Pioneers Park; an addition to the Nature Center Prairie Building; the Park Middle School Teen Center; benches along the Holmes Lake Trail Loop; a shelter at Woods Park; the Bethany Park Shelter; the Green Team Youth Employment Program; the Youth Outdoor Adventure Program; Peach Park expansion; Pioneers Park Nature Center art work; the Jamaica North Trail Bridge; and Parker’s Pals swim and recreation program scholarships for low-income youth.

“TierOne is very proud to be one of the original sponsors of the Lincoln Cares program,” said Roger Ludemann, TierOne Bank Executive Vice President. “This will be our sixth year of involvement through the TierOne Bank Foundation, and we are strongly committed to the program’s success and its efforts to enhance our community and make Lincoln a better place to live.”

“Cabela’s CLUB is pleased to once again be a corporate sponsor for Lincoln Cares,” said Kevin Werts, Executive Vice President/CFO of Cabela’s World’s Foremost Bank. “The many projects and programs that have been completed would most likely not have occurred without Lincoln Cares, and the list of potential new projects that will enhance our community is truly impressive. The success of Lincoln Cares shows that Lincoln truly does care.”

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

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 475-4211. 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).

2008 Lincoln Care Projects

The Lincoln Cares Advisory Board approved the following projects to be funded in 2008:

Trago Park – $30,000
The park near 22nd and “U” streets will soon include a new concept for water recreation in Lincoln. An interactive sprayground water feature is being developed in conjunction with the relocated playground east of the park shelter. The sprayground is expected to be open by this summer. Water features will be activated by a sensor and open to the community free of charge. Other improvements include renovation of the basketball courts, a new play field, areas for public art and information on the history of the Malone neighborhood, expanded parking and additional landscaping. It is scheduled to be open by summer of 2008. The estimated cost of the project is $625,000, with $500,000 coming from the parks capital improvement fund. The remaining $125,000 will be raised through private contributions.

Lincoln’s Central Park – $20,000
Lincoln’s Central Park is the working name for a new east downtown park planned for the three-block area between 21st, 22nd, “O” and “R” streets. This six-acre park is the centerpiece of the Antelope Valley Project. Park features will include fountains, seating areas, an outdoor amphitheater, an overlook area, a children’s play area, public art and a plaza walkway suitable for events and festivals. The estimated cost of this project and a maintenance fund is $6.4 million, which includes public and private funding.

Parker’s Pals Swim and Recreation Program Scholarships – $15,000
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 2007, Lincoln Cares provided swim scholarships to 137 children. Lincoln Cares funds also are used to provide admission to public pools for low-income children and families. Scholarships also are provided for before- and after-school programs, summer day camps, youth sports programs, therapeutic recreation programs and outdoor education programs for 185 children.

Youth Outdoor Adventure Program – $15,000
This program introduces low-income children to the great outdoors through recreation activities including fishing, archery, canoeing and orienteering. Lincoln Cares funds are used to purchase equipment, provide staffing and pay for transportation and entrance fees.

Bountiful Harvest – $4,000
“Bountiful Harvest” is a large steel sculpture representing grains of wheat. The sculpture was originally installed at Westfield Gateway. It was recently donated to the City for display in a park setting. Lincoln Cares funds will be used to restore and install the artwork.

Pocras Park Lighting -- $4,000
Funding will be matched with neighborhood donations to add lighting to the recently renovated park.

Bowling Lake Picnic Tables --$3,000
Bowling Lake was recently renovated as part of the Nebraska Game and Parks Urban Fisheries Program. Lincoln Cares funding will be used to upgrade park facilities for those visiting the park and fishing.

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