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City honors two past aldermen with dedication of city park

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[August 25, 2014]  LINCOLN - Monday evening a large group gathered in a small park on south Sangamon Street to witness the official dedication of green space as Busby Turner Park. The park has been named Busby Turner in honor and memory of the two city of Lincoln aldermen, Orville “Buzz” Busby and Nathan Turner, who each died while holding office.

Orville Busby, known to most everyone as Buzz, died December 8, 2012 at the age of 75. He had been a member of the Lincoln City Council for decades and was known as the council historian as he could bring to remembrance nearly every significant issue the council ever faced while he was in office. He left behind his wife Judy and three daughters: Chris, Cince and Cass.

Nathan Turner was only 29 years old when he died on February 7, 2010. He was the youngest member of the Lincoln City Council. Turner was sworn into the office on May 1 of 2009, having been elected in a contested race against incumbent Wanda Lee Rohlfs. Nathan left behind his wife Sarah and their young son Benjamin.

Though the two men were generations apart in age, they shared many common goals and ideals. Both were representatives of ward one in the city. They both were known in the council as leaders rather than followers. They never went along with an idea without giving it much thought and considering what affect their vote would have on not only the people of their ward, but the people of the whole city.

Both men were fiscally responsible, and Busby in particular was known as a fiscal watchdog in the city council.

On Monday evening, when Mayor Keith Snyder stepped forward to offer the dedication of the park to these two aldermen, he had many kind words to say about both men, and noted that they both left the council too soon.

He said it was fitting that the green space be named after the two for many reasons. He noted first that the park is in what was then their ward.

In addition, he said both would have been pleased that the property for the park was obtained as a result of land acquisition as part of a development agreement. The city purchased the property from the parent corporation of Neal Tire Company. They were then able to re-structure the parking spaces on that side of the street. This was done to provide more parking for the Blue Dog Inn that was planning an expansion of their business.

Snyder noted both men were business minded and supported the growth of local business.

In addition, Snyder noted the two pieces of local art that occupy the north and south ends of the park. He said the work had been done by local artists and donated to the city by the artists.

“Both Buzz and Nathan watched the purse strings of the city pretty closely. They would have liked that the artists thought enough of the city to donate both of those pieces to the city.” Snyder laughed as he continued his comments saying, “Now I think Buzz would probably have a comment about both pieces of art, but he would have liked the fact they were donated.”

Snyder went on to say that he could assure everyone there was not a meeting go by but what both Buzz and Nathan were thought of by the aldermen. “We miss them,” he said, “and we loved having them and working alongside them. Both were taken far too soon.”

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Alderwoman Jonie Tibbs also spoke briefly. She commented about the years she spent sitting next to Buzz in the council chamber and his love for Tootsie Rolls.

She then held up the red ink pen that had been given to her and all the council members and department heads by Buzz. The pens were given out by Buzz during the budget meetings in a year when the city was facing some serious deficits due to the declining economy. (In the year Busby gave out the pens, he told the aldermen and department heads that he felt they needed to cut the budget and then cut again, because the city coffers were declining as were the revenues, and the city had to be responsible for its cash.) Tibbs said she and several other aldermen still have their pens, and they serve as a reminder of Buzz and his insistence that the group be mindful of the city’s money.

She also spoke about Nathan Turner as being a remarkable young man who was dedicated to his role as an alderman.

When Tibbs finished, Judy Busby offered up a “Thank you” to everyone in attendance. She said she was very surprised to see so many come out for the dedication. Sarah Turner had similar expressions of surprise.

She commented further saying it had been a shock to know that people still cared deeply about Nathan, and she felt honored that her husband was going to be remembered in the city for a long time.


She also commented on Nathan’s relationship with Buzz. She remembered that when Nathan decided to run for city council, Buzz was the first one to step up and say “yes,” that Nathan belonged on the council.

She said Nathan admired and respected Buzz, and nearly every meeting night would come home with comments about Buzz from his amazing ability to recount the city history, to his knowledge of the city codes and by-laws.

She said, “It means a lot that you even did this, but the fact that you are doing this together is just amazing.”

Snyder began bringing the dedication to a close telling the group that he had learned from Nathan’s young son Ben that the park was not yet finished. He said, “Ben told me in no uncertain terms that this park needs a playground!”

At the center of the park are two wooden benches and a vine arbor. A concrete podium has been constructed with a plaque on top dedicating the park to Busby and Turner. On Monday evening, Snyder presented Judy Busby and Sarah Turner with small stone replicas of the commemorative plaque as a personal remembrance of the respect the city holds for these two men.


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