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Office of Governor Pete Ricketts

Gov. Ricketts Proposes Transfer of Grand Island Nebraska Veterans’ Home Property to the City of Grand Island

Media Contacts:
Taylor Gage, Governor’s Office, 402-471-1970
Bo Botelho, Administrative Services, 402-471-0972
Margaret Buck, Senator’s Office, 402-471-2617
Wendy Meyer-Schmidt, Mayor’s Office, 308-385-5444 ext. 148

                                   

Transfer of property to the city honors the spirit of the original gift of the land from farm families

LINCOLN – Today, Governor Pete Ricketts proposed the transfer of the property that is currently home to the Grand Island Nebraska Veterans’ Home from the State of Nebraska to the City of Grand Island.  The transfer is contingent on approval by the City of Grand Island.  If approved, the transfer would occur in two phases and would be completed following the construction of the new Central Nebraska Veterans’ Home, which will be located in Kearney.

Transferring the land from the State of Nebraska to the City of Grand Island honors the spirit of the original gift of the land which was transferred to the State of Nebraska by three farm families.  On April 1, 1887, the Baker, Alter, and Glover families transferred parcels of land at the price of a dollar each for the purpose of constructing the veterans’ home.  Similarly, the State of Nebraska plans to transfer the property to the City of Grand Island, which hopes to redevelop the land.

“Today’s announcement honors the spirit of the original transfer of land to the State of Nebraska and allows the City of Grand Island to redevelop the property,” said Governor Ricketts.  “Today’s announcement is a win-win for the people of Grand Island and all Nebraskans.”

The transfer of the Grand Island Nebraska Veterans’ Home property follows a decision by the previous administration to move the home from Grand Island to Kearney based on a competitive bidding process.  Construction of the new veterans’ home is scheduled to be completed in 2018.  The two phases of the proposed transfer are projected as follows:

  •        In Phase I, the State of Nebraska would transfer 77 acres of recreation area and 329 acres of farmland.
  •        In Phase II, the State of Nebraska would transfer the approximately 45-55 acres which house the Grand Island Nebraska Veterans’ Home, the Veterans’ Cemetery, and the United Veterans’ Club.

The City of Grand Island hopes to redevelop the land creating a new public city cemetery, which will surround the existing veterans’ cemetery.  Under the terms of the transfer, which need approval by the Grand Island City Council, the city would agree to take over control and maintenance of the veterans’ cemetery.  The city also plans to establish a new economic development zone on the property to spur new commercial and retail development.

“Following the transfer of the property, the state will realize substantial savings in the coming years from transferring responsibility for a wide variety of tasks and expenses associated with maintaining the veterans’ cemetery,” said Department of Administrative Services (DAS) Director Byron Diamond.

DAS estimates that the transfer of the land is projected to result in cost savings to the State of Nebraska of approximately $5.3 million over the first 25 years. 

“For over a century, this land has served as the home to many of Nebraska’s veterans,” said Grand Island Mayor Jeremy Jensen.  “Today’s announcement from Governor Ricketts will allow the City of Grand Island to build on this legacy and to pursue new economic development opportunities as we move forward.”

"I greatly appreciate Governor Ricketts’ willingness to work with us on returning this land to Grand Island and beginning to put the decision to move the veterans’ home behind us,” said Senator Mike Gloor.  “With this planned land transfer we can begin to move forward in creating new economic development to replace the jobs that will be lost when the veterans’ home moves to the new location."

 

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