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Mayor's Office

2008 Media Releases

March 13, 2008
For More Information Contact:
Diane Gonzolas, Citizen Information Center, 441-7831
Kevin Keller, Union Bank and Trust Company, 323-1640
Lynn Johnson, City Parks and Recreation Director, 441-8265

Union Bank and Trust makes historic gift to community

Mayor Chris Beutler today announced that the new park planned as part of the Antelope Valley Project will be named Union Plaza to recognize a $1.5 million gift from Union Bank and Trust Company. The park will be built along the new waterway in six-acre area between 21st, 22nd, “O” and “R” streets.

“As the largest financial donation our park system has ever received, Union Bank’s gift is historic,” said Mayor Beutler. “Union Plaza will be like no other park in Lincoln with its fountains, trail connections, amphitheater and other special features. And the park will benefit future generations in many other ways. We believe Union Plaza will attract businesses to the edges of the park, helping to expand our tax base and create more opportunities for growth in Lincoln.”

“Lincoln is the headquarters for Union Bank and Trust Company, and the vast majority of our associates live here,” said Angie Muhleisen, President and CEO of Union Bank and Trust Company. “On behalf of the ownership and associates of Union Bank, we are very excited to present this gift for Union Plaza. We have a strong desire to give back to the City that has allowed our bank to be so successful. Union Plaza is a unique opportunity to beautify our City and will be a gift to our City that all individuals and families will enjoy for generations to come.”

Union Plaza is scheduled to be completed in the fall of 2010. It will include four water features, play areas, an outdoor amphitheater, a scenic overlook, new trail connections, educational opportunities, a pond plaza, festival areas and art sculptures.

The total cost of the park is $7.9 million. The City of Lincoln has committed $3.3 million primarily from keno revenue. The Lincoln Parks Foundation, with the help of the 2015 Vision group, will lead a community campaign to raise the remaining $4.6 million needed to finish the park and provide an endowment for maintenance. Mike Seacrest has volunteered to be the campaign’s honorary chair, and co-chairs are Roger Larson, Patty Pansing Brooks and T.J. McDowell.

“Union Plaza is a unique opportunity to move forward the 2015 Vision for our community,” said Larson. “With the generosity of Union Bank and other commitments we’ve received to date, we are happy to announce that we more than halfway to our goal of $4.6 million.”

“We believe Union Plaza will be a jewel for this neighborhood and our entire community. The name Union Plaza is appropriate because it will be a coming together place for all of Lincoln's residents,” said McDowell, who also is Executive Director of the Malone Community Center, just north of Union Plaza.

“I am excited about the opportunity that Union Plaza provides to collaborate and connect with so many facets of our community,” said Pansing Brooks. “Union Plaza will be a discovery place for people of all ages to learn about the important resources which enrich our State and to celebrate Lincoln, our City that sparkles.”

The Lincoln Parks Foundation has committed $75,000 to the Union Plaza campaign. “Through this community campaign, we want to give everyone a chance to be involved,” said Christie Dionisopoulos, President of the Lincoln Parks Foundation. “No donation is too big or too small. And, all who donate to this special project receive a charter membership to the Friends of Lincoln’s Parks organization, dedicated to enhancing our City Parks and Recreation system. This organization will continue after the campaign and will help us build an endowment to take care of every park in our community.”

Lincoln Parks and Recreation Director Lynn Johnson said Union Plaza is part of a generation of new urban parks being created across the country. “Cities around the world are recognizing the social, economic, environmental and health benefits of urban park projects,” he said. “We believe Union Plaza will provide that and greatly enhance our parks system in Lincoln. We’ve truly appreciated the interest, enthusiasm and participation from the many agencies and organizations who have assisted in making Union Plaza a very special place of discovery and celebration of the joys of being outdoors.”

The initial planning work on the park by Parsons Brinckerhoff, Olsson Associates and Erickson Sullivan Architects received an Award of Excellence in 2001 from the American Society of Landscape Architects Great Plains Chapter. The Clark Enersen Partners joined the design team in 2006.

The Antelope Valley Project is a partnership among the City, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and the Lower Platte South Natural Resources District. It will provide flood control, traffic improvements and community revitalization in the heart of the City. More information is available on the City Web site at (keyword: antelope).

More information about Union Plaza is available at or by calling the Lincoln Parks Foundation at: 441-8258.

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