Lincoln 2020 Strategic Plan 2.0
Part 4: Something to marinate "Third Friday Downtown"

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[January 15, 2016]  LINCOLN - When the Lincoln City Council met for its first Strategic Planning event in March of 2015, there were ideas that came out of that meeting, that didn’t necessarily make it into the four Strategic Goals in the final document.

One such suggestion was the formation of a civic foundation for the city. The thoughts at the time were that the city needed a way to fund certain community activities and support local initiatives without stressing the general funds used for daily operations of the city. It was suggested at that time, that a portion of the city’s newly acquired Hotel/Motel tax monies could be held by the city and placed in that foundation.

There were also sidebar discussions during the breakout sessions in 2015 where then Mayor Keith Snyder along with City Administrator Clay Johnson talked about how a foundation could be a vehicle for citizens to make charitable donations to the city.

While the idea didn’t make it into the strategic plan, it did not die away.

When the council met later in the month to formulate a budget for the 2015-16 fiscal year, it was determined that the city would withhold five percent of the Hotel/Motel tax to form a Civic Foundation. The other 95 percent of the funding would be passed through to the Logan County Tourism Bureau.

On Saturday, Johnson brought before the council and city department heads a suggestion to move forward with the foundation as planned, and also a suggestion as to how at least some of the money in the foundation could be used to support city-sponsored events during the summer months.

As Johnson began describing the idea, he emphasized that it was not a concrete plan, only an idea that the council could mull on and consider. If they wanted to go forward with the plan, there were steps involved in reaching the end goal that included setting up the foundation.

In the suggestion, Johnson said the city could host “Third Friday Downtown.” This would be a smaller, festival type event, held on the square on the third Friday of May, June, July, August, and September.

Johnson said each event could have a theme. As examples - a family game night, a movie night, summer fun night, adventure night, and a homestead night.

Each Friday event would have multiple components including live music, activities and food. Johnson handed out a list of ideas that included suggestions for each of these components.

As he talked about the idea, Johnson said that the goal was to provide a fun activity for the people of Lincoln and Logan County that would at the same time bring people to the downtown area.

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In addition to funding a summer night event, Johnson said that the foundation could be used as a means to support the bike trails. He noted that there had been conversations with the Abraham Lincoln Healthcare Foundation and the Bike Trails Committee, and it was agreed that the city could use the foundation as the funding source for the bike trails initiatives.

Tracy Welch asked if the foundation would be a 501(C)3 not-for-profit. Johnson said that it would be, and that is part of the work that will need to be done. He went on to say that the foundation will need to be incorporated, and there will need to be a board of directors.

Looking at the suggested months of the summer when events will be held, Steve Parrott asked why there was nothing planned for October. Johnson said there were two reasons, first weather condition, as by the third Friday in October the weather can be very unreliable. Also, funding, as the schedule of events would need to be held and paid for by the dollars allotted from the Hotel/Motel Tax.

Johnson wrapped up the presentation saying that this was only a suggestion for the council to consider. He encouraged them to “marinate” on the idea, and if they decided they wanted to make it concrete, he would get the process started.

[Nila Smith]

Lincoln 2020 Strategic Plan 2.0

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