The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current, November 03, 1998, Page 6, Image 6

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By Josh Funk
Senior staff writer
In the last of a series of meetings,
community leaders vented concerns last
night about development projects
The city contracted the
Lincoln/Lancaster County Mediation
Center to identify concerns about and
propose solutions for the future of
Wilderness Park.
“Our job is to ensure that people
have a voice in this process,” said Betsy
Kosier, one of the mediators.
About 20 people attended Monday
night’s meeting ready to discuss issues
of development and preservation of the
park that serves as one of the city’s main
flood plains in addition to preserving
natural beauty.
Monday’s meeting was the last of
about 80 the mediation center has spon
sored in the last month to identify
The next step is the creation of a
working study group of community
leaders, city officials and developers to
consider the issues and fmd solutions
over the next nine months. The group’s
first meeting is Nov. 16.
“It seems like the cart is outrunning
the horse here,” South Salt Creek neigh
borhood representative R C. Meza said.
Early in the meeting, community
leaders had a chance to question city
planning and parks departments repre
“I don’t know” was a common
answer to many concerns that seem to
need further clarification. ^
“There were a lot of questions raised
(in earlier meetings) we didn’t have the
answer to ” said Mike DeKalb, city
planning representative.
Many people questioned the effec
tiveness of the mediation, saying it
should be coordinated with other stud
ies the city has already conducted.
“The left hand doesn’t know what
the right hand is doing,” said Mike
Hutchinson, state vice president of
Pheasants Forever. “We are developing
while we are studying.”
DeKalb said that this process is
designed “to look at what die park is,
what it was and what it could be.”
City officials also reminded people
that expansion of the park, along with
development bordering it, is another
issue for the study group.
Community leaders voiced concern
about the procedures for developing
land bordering the park.
Several people felt as though com
munity support had been overruled by
developers and their money in the past.
Wilderness Park’s role as a city
flopdjfdy was al^o questioned by many
e^ecialty^o^ing in flood
^>lain neighborhoods. *
- They said they wanted to know
where the water will go when non-per
Election to determine future of land
By Sara Hossaini
Staff writer
The controversy that erupted last
year over the developing of kind near
Wilderness Park is once again stirring
debate as voters cast their ballots
today on part of the land’s future.
Two proposals on today’s ballot
would fund tike city’s efforts to build a
community park and a library at Col.
Densmore Park near Wilderness Park.
The Parks and Recreation Bond
would fund six lighted baseball fields
along with recreational facilities
equipped with parking and re&ltKhrjs
for a total cost of more than ^nil
Another proposed bond wbuld use
taxpayer funds to build a branch of the
Lincoln Public Library.
Also being built on the land near
Wilderness Park is a privately funded
The development of the area near
14th Street and Mockingbird Lane,
known as Col. Densmore Park, is
drawing cnucism irom residents near
by, who argue that die need for more
sports fields has been met and that the
location is less than desirable for
“We are fighting this for a number
of reasons,” said Terri Jo Dahlquist, a
resident of the area. “The. Lincoln
Optimist Club is taking care of the
need (for recreational facilities) with
12 ball diamonds being built a couple
of miles from here. Ibis would be a
big mistake for the wildlife of
Wilderness Park.”
Dahlquist said certain animals
would be negatively affected by the
bright lights of die baseball diamonds.
The Optimist Club is building the
12 baseball diamonds north' of
Highway 77 and south of Old Cheney
Lynn Johnson, Lincoln Parks and
Recreation spokeswoman, said the
new Col. Densmore Park would be
“We understand the neighbors’
concerns, and we will try to work with
them,” she said.
we are aeiiniteiy going 10 iook
at landscaping in the fiiture to help
with the light and act as a buffer to
Wilderness (Park).”
tion is not thermost idea^hoice for
development because of the hilly
grassland aifif the more than 100-year
old flood plain that covers the area.
But Lincoln city officials said
grading the area would cost less than
purchasing land elsewhere.
Parks and Recreation officials
also said they were working with engi
neers to ensure proper water drainage.
But some neighbors are still
“They want to flatten the land,
which will increase the flooding prob
lem that already exists,” Dahlquist
said. “Parks and Rec says it will han
dle it, but they give us no exact num
bers, no real solutions at all.”
Whether Lincoln voters approve
the construction bonds or not,
Johnson said the privately funded
YMCA still plans to grade its portion
of the land.
: - - . ‘Vn
meable development moves in.
Two large areas in the flood plair
bordering the southeast side of the pari
have been zoned as future residential
areas and developers are already plan
Further north, Lincoln Public
Schools will build a high school, and
stores at die new shopping center at 27**
Street and Pine Lake Road are starting
to open.
It is unclear how these projects will
the park, Rosier said.
And community leaders are ready
to commit to this long mediation
“At first in the process there is anger
and a fear of dark powers-at work,”
South Corridor neighborhood represen
tative Jim Bishop said. “It’s hard to find
a consensus in sucha divisive issue, but
once you get past the fear and anger you
can gk your voice heard....
“The park is beautiful, and it is up to
the citizens to save it”
Freshmen adjust to college life through involvement
By SandiAls WAGER
Going away to college, some fresh
tkHU . UnP^PpS^* of _ ^
Lincoln tries to make its fteshmSen:
at home, particularly through activities
and programs in the residence halls,
where nearly all freshmen live, some
students said.
“We ahyays have people who have
trouble adjusting to this environment,”
MiU. ,r.
The stories of three UNL freshmen
show the range of adjustments hun
dreds typically face:
Long way from home
For Lori Henderson, adjusting to
college life meant accumulating a
huge phone bill.
Henderson said when it was time
to move here from Vermilion, S.D., her
mother, who is a college professor, had
, already started teaching and could not
’s parents help
them out, but I had to do everything by
myself,” she said.
Henderson said she made frequent
_ii_ i__j_:_
VOllO llUilJV uiurng
the first couple of
days just to ask
simple questions
such as how to set
up her television
someone to talk
, “My mom understands what I am
going through because she is a college
professor. If I got a bad grade, she
would reassure me,” die said.
Although Henderson did have her
student assistant available for help, she
decided she would rather consult her
Although a tad homesick initially,
Henderson said she is beginning to get
used to her new life and thinks joining
university activities helped a lot
“I got.involved,” she said. “You
rto go and flag#..
as joined the Abe,!
Residence Association, which is the
hall’s government, and Campus Red
Cross. She helped organize die Abel
Olympics and homecoming activities,
she said.
Such activities are what housing
administrators have in place to help
students like Henderson adjust.
Abel Hall Student Assistant Jon
Trombino said the first five weeks of
the semester are a crucial time for
f$:g$htnen to adjust and often deter
mine whether or not a student will
illrop out of college.
“The thing that keeps them here is
whether they get involved,” he said.
Town-sized dorm
Coming from a small Nebraska
town, Casey Tyler, a pre-law major,
was excited to dive into college culture
Tyler, who is from Emerson, which
has a population of860, said he adjust
ed and met new people right away.
Tyler said he enjoys die social life
1 of UNL the most.
| “There are so
IS many things to do
here,” he said.
“When you come
there , are a Tot
more opportuni
ties here.
A Kal Vk o o
Tyler twice the popula
tion of my town,”
he said.
Tyler participates in intramural
sports to meet new people, he said.
Residence director Esters said not
all students from small towns make the
adjustment as easily as Tyler did, con
sidering they come from communities
of 200-500 people, with Abel being a
building of 1,000. '
“The staff is available to talk with
them and point them in the right direc
tion,” Esters said. “I’ve talked with stu
dents at 3 or 4 a.m. because they are
having problems.”
Out-of-state of flux
Though David Nwangwu is from
out of state, he did not hesitate to go
out and meet people.
Nwangwu, a freshman pre-medi
cine major from Texas, said his circle
of acquaintances grew just by meeting
friends of other people he met.
Despite all die activities set up fry
residence halls, Esters said students
must take an initiative to meet student^'
themselves, as Nwangwu has done.
Nwangwu said students should
take advantage of the. opportunities the
university offers; ' ? < r r_
“I made myself be open to people*’
and wasn’t shy at all,’’ he said.
Nwangwu said he wanted to ven
Iture out into the
world and be on
his own. He origi
nally is from
Sugarland, Texas,
a Houston suburb.
Nwangwu hasn’t
joined any activi
ties, he is concen
trating on joining
Mwanqwu ™e team
as a walk-on play
er in the spring.
Nwangwu said there were not any
out-of-state programs^imed specifi
cally for him. He came to UNL to visit,
he said, and the Big Red Welcome
helped him to meet a lot of people.
“You can’t be shy going into a new
place,” he said.
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find th«M underwriters at our website: http://www.unl.Miu/DiiilyN6b/ _I