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Jackie Allen & Friends

Jackie Allen and Friends perform a jazz concert at the Lincoln Community Foundation Garden.

Forty-five years ago, a downtown treasure was dedicated. Downtown has certainly changed since the 1970s, but the Lincoln Community Foundation Garden continues to provide the opportunity for the community to rest, relax, mingle and share in a common space.

Tucked away behind the Lincoln Community Foundation building on the corner of Centennial Mall and N Street, Frank H. Woods, representing the Woods Charitable Fund, presented the garden to the community on Oct. 15, 1973, as a “People’s Park.” The first week was full of celebration, with 25 different entertainment groups and hundreds of people enjoying a picnic lunch in the open-air atmosphere.

People still enjoy packing a lunch or purchasing a meal from LuLu’s, the comfort food restaurant that occupies the building that was the Korn Popper when the garden was first dedicated.

With the opening of the Garden in 1973, the Foundation began a long-loved tradition of free public concerts throughout the summer. The tradition continues in 2019, with an even longer Summer Performance Series stretching through September. The free concerts happen Wednesdays at noon starting May 1 with a favorite – Annette Murrell. See the full schedule at lcf.org/gardenseries.

Neighboring businesses, Nebraska Arts Council and other local foundations work together to schedule family-friendly performers that appeal to all ages. Partnering with Arts Inc. in producing the concerts, these events are accessible to all with access from both Centennial Mall and N Street.

The Lincoln Community Foundation, established in 1955, strives to continually enrich the Lincoln community by promoting and achieving perpetual philanthropic support. The foundation currently manages $127 million in assets and has distributed more than $130 million in grants to nonprofit organizations that have improved the lives of thousands of Lincoln residents.

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L Magazine editor

Mark Schwaninger is L magazine and Neighborhood Extra editor.

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