[December 18, 2013]When the "We Are Lincoln" group
met last week, a large portion of the meeting was a continuation
from their first meeting, in November. At that session, lists were
compiled by those in attendance, naming projects that needed to be
started or completed in Lincoln. The goal was to identify what is
needed in order to make Lincoln a better place, and also how to draw
attention to the good things that are already going on in the city.
Later in the evening, moderator Michael Gowin moved the discussion
to identifying new issues that were not already on the pages on the
Jeanette Harris said there was not enough information regarding
services for those in bad situations. Harris spoke about those who
are in poverty and also have other issues in their lives, such as
difficulty finding work because they have a criminal background.
Harris reminded the group that in society, most of those who live
in poverty are victims of generational poverty, where children are
following in the footsteps of their parents and grandparents. She
said there needed to be more done in the community to help break
these generational cycles.
Patrick Doolin also updated the group on what is going on with
the downtown revitalization programs. He told them that the steering
committee had presented two recommendations to the city council for
actions to be taken in 2014 that would start showing physical
evidence of the revitalization.
He said that in addition to what has been recommended, there are
other projects that other groups are trying to get going. He
mentioned as a for-instance, an empty lot near the Lincoln Public
Library that will be developed into additional downtown parking.
David Doolin said there are several things going on in the
community that are not just a "snapshot in time"; they are ongoing,
continual efforts. He named specifically the Together for Lincoln
program that annually does work to improve the lives of those less
fortunate or unable to maintain their homes due to health or age.
He said the We Are Lincoln group could be an aggregate for new
ideas for existing movements, and that they could team together and
help each other in making improvements in Lincoln.
Aaron Cantrell, who is involved with Together for Lincoln, said
there is a new men's group forming at Jefferson Street Church as a
spinoff of Together for Lincoln. He said the group is going to be
starting soon with a new outreach that will offer assistance to
widows and single-parent families.
Gowin then moved the topics along, asking members of the group to
talk about why they were there.
Andi Hake of the Lincoln/Logan County Chamber of Commerce spoke
up first, saying that she had missed the first We Are Lincoln
meeting because she had to attend another meeting, but that she had
been very excited to hear how many people had come to the initial
She said the work this group wants to do is something that in
the big picture will make her job easier. As the executive
director of the chamber of commerce, her role is to promote the
community, bring new business into town and help the city grow.
She said groups working together and making Lincoln a better
place through projects such as the dog park make Lincoln more
attractive to those looking to come here.
Another member of the audience said Lincoln was her husband's
hometown. As a couple they had left Lincoln, but they returned 10
years ago to raise their family here. She said she wanted her kids
to be proud of their hometown and to want to stay right here.
David Lanterman said he was part of the group because he wants to
help improve Lincoln.
Harris spoke again. She explained that she is a single mom with
kids, and she's working to receive her education at Lincoln
Christian University. She said typically those who are poor and
struggling don't often participate in meetings like this one.
However, she said she had built up her courage and come to the
meeting because she wanted to be a voice for those who are afraid to
participate, and she wants the betterment of Lincoln to include the
betterment of those people.
Blinn Bates said he felt that many of those who were in the room
were there for the betterment of the city, and they had come from a
desire to be a part of it. He commented that on a very cold night,
his home was safe and warm, but he felt a need to be a part of this
movement that would move the city forward in the future.
As the one-hour mark passed at the meeting, the question was
asked, "Can we make a list of things we want to do?"
In the final segment of this series, the group discusses how to
promote the We Are Lincoln group and the community as a whole.