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Case New Holland gets city approval to work on combines at Fonner Park
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Case New Holland gets city approval to work on combines at Fonner Park

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Case New Holland combines

Combines at Case New Holland in Grand Island waiting for parts so assembly can be finished and they can be shipped to consumers.

Case New Holland will be doing work on unfinished combines at Fonner Park’s Beef Barn through the winter.

Grand Island City Council Tuesday approved a request from Hall County Livestock Improvement Association for a conditional use permit for the site.

The permit will allow for the installation of missing parts on the combines.

Because of the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on shipping, a fleet of vehicles is completed except for some components, according to an application to the city signed by Fonner Park CEO Chris Kotulak.

Case New Holland sign

Case New Holland, Grand Island

CNHI Plant Manager for Grand Island Mike Schaefer was not available for comment Wednesday.

The current Fonner Park facility is located on a property that is zoned B2, which is general business zone, City Building Department Director Craig Lewis explained.

That classification does not specifically allow for manufacturing in a B2 zone.

“They (CNHI) want to provide some rework on their combines in the winter months and they can’t do it outside very readily, so they’d like to use the Beef Barn to facilitate the reworking of these combines,” Lewis said.

The conditional use permit starts this month and expires in April, Lewis said.

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“We’ve talked about some things they’re going to do for that barn,” Lewis said. “They still have to apply building fire codes. We’re working with them to see how we’re going to provide heat, temporary things for the manufacturing.”

He added, “It’s still in the process but I think we can get there fairly readily.”

Council member Bethany Guzinski asked Lewis how CNHI plans to get its combines from the facility to Fonner Park.

“I was just concerned after all the money we spent on Stolley Park Road that they were going to be driving combines down there,” she said.

Case New Holland

Combines at Case New Holland in Grand Island waiting for parts so assembly can be finished and they can be shipped to consumers.

Lewis explained that the combines do run, but will be transported from Highway 281 to Highway 34, and to Stolley Park Road and into Fonner Park.

“I anticipate we will have a great parade going from Case New Holland,” Lewis said. “They’re very considerate of the local traffic.”

There will be 200 units total, with eight to 10 being transported and worked on per day, Lewis said.

“Going to that facility takes roughly two days to get the rework portions done,” he said. “It’ll be an ongoing process. Hopefully it won’t take too terribly long, but they’ll have better working conditions that being outside.”

Council member Mark Stelk voiced support for the permit.

“I like to see us helping a large manufacturing company out, and I like to help the employees who work out there in the wintertime on those combines,” he said. “You get Nebraska weather over the winter and it’s pretty brutal. This way they get to work in a nice, warm environment. I really commend city staff for recommending approval of this.”

The permit was approved 7-1 with Guzinski voting against it and council members Chuck Haase and Vaughn Minton absent.

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