A hearty Saturday Salute goes this week to Amur Equipment Finance for working with the Railside Business Improvement District and the city of Grand Island to expand what was previously known as Kaufman Park.
Plans are to put in a permanent stage, restroom facilities and a green space, at a cost of about $650,000, with Amur providing half of the funding and the Railside BID raising the remaining funding.
The park has been the venue for the Hear Grand Island concert series for several years, and these improvements will make the growing summer entertainment series even stronger. This year’s series has kicked off with its first Friday night concert.
City Assistant Finance Director Brian Schultz explained that the expanded site would include official signage and historical information on how the site came to be and to recognize the leaders of the local effort.
The back of the stage and additional tall trees will help to diminish the sound of trains passing on the neighboring tracks, but not much else can be done about the sounds, Schultz said.
RBID would continue to be responsible for maintenance of the site as well as its expansion.
Amos Anson, a local developer and RBID president, told The Independent the project is a joint effort between Amur and RBID.
“They want to improve downtown — not only for the community, but also their employees. It would be a nice space to take a break and walk around at lunchtime,” Anson said. “As far as downtown goes, it would be great to have a permanent home for Hear Grand Island. Just having that stage down there, for any event, it’s a unique venue for people, and it’s more opportunities for the city and entrepreneurs, as well.”
As Anson said at Tuesday’s City Council meeting, the development of the park will help inspire downtown businesses to stay there and perhaps attract more businesses to set up shop in Railside.
Brent Lindner, Hear Grand Island event co-founder, said the planned expansion has generated excitement as the concert series was nearing the start of its fifth year.
“The whole process of this is to hopefully get other people to have more events and have more things going on there every month of the year,” Lindner said, “garnering and perpetuating the rolling ball that is our Railside district and investment in downtown.”
Once a financial agreement can be finalized between Amur and the city of Grand Island the project will move forward. The City Council has awarded naming rights for the park to Amur, so it is now named Amur Park.
Central Nebraska is hopping
If you haven’t yet, take a look at the calendar on page 8B. It’s HUGE!
It’s great to see so many events going on this weekend in the Grand Island area. From Zombies in the Heartland at the shooting park and Premier the Beer at Stuhr Museum to Grundlovsfest in Dannebrog and Polish Days in Loup City, there’s something for everyone.
Get out and enjoy the return to normal coming with the waning of the pandemic’s grip on our area.