Grand Island Community Look Book 2021

Page 1



! e r e h







Mission: To improve the economic vitality and quality of life for the total community and area.









Grand Island Area Chamber of Commerce 309 West Second Street Grand Island, NE 68801 (308) 382-9210

The Grand Island Area Chamber of Commerce proudly represents over 700 businesses, organizations, and professional firms that drive the dynamic environment and quality of life, right here in this vibrant city in America’s heartland. Thriving cities require thriving businesses, and our Chamber takes a proactive approach to anticipate and meet business needs — from business advocacy at every level and workforce development, to business recruitment and retention. Our partners are the pulse of this community, so our professional staff and volunteer board of directors take their needs and suggestions seriously. We invite you to contact the Grand Island Area Chamber of Commerce to learn more about what makes this community tick. Stop by for a visit and chat with the businessmen and women in Grand Island. You’ll soon realize what we’ve known all along: Grand Island is a great place to live, work, and raise a family!

Cindy K. Johnson, President Grand Island Area Chamber of Commerce




BLENDING HEARTLAND HOSPITALITY WITH THE BEST OF URBAN CENTERS Vibrant communities all share common qualities. They have a steady growth in population, they host a wide array of popular stores and restaurants, include diverse employment opportunities, and offer excellent schools and healthcare. Neighborhoods are warm and welcoming; opportunities to make friends and enjoy leisure time abound. These are just a the few of the characteristics used to describe the progressive and friendly nature of Grand Island. In fact, whether you are a first time visitor or have lived here all your life, you are likely to agree that when it comes to finding what you want, Grand Island meets and exceeds your expectations!

Our location makes the difference Located in the heart of Nebraska along Interstate 80, Grand Island has grown to become the largest city between Lincoln and Denver. With over 50,000 city residents, its positive business climate and easy lifestyle has become a draw for visitors, new residents, and businesses looking to succeed. Location has also played a strong role in establishing Grand Island as a regional shopping hub for central Nebraska. Thanks to a thriving Highway 281 and Webb Road corridor, a growing number of shopping malls, major local and national retailers, restaurant chains, and professional offices are located here. The South Locust Street corridor is easy to access from the interstate and is home to Grand Island’s world class livestock facilities, Fonner Park, Heartland Events Center, and Community Fieldhouse.

While Grand Island has a wealth of big city amenities, the beauty of the Platte River and rolling Nebraska Sandhills are just a few miles away. Hunting and water sport opportunities are plentiful, making this area a dream come true for nature lovers and outdoorsmen. When the great outdoors beckon, you are never far from places to camp, boat, canoe, kayak, or sit back and enjoy the splendor of the Nebraska plains.

Island Oasis Water Park offers six-and-a-half acres of summer fun, with a 350,000 gallon wave pool, 750-foot lazy river, two six-story highspeed water slides, four 150foot slides, and a children’s play area.

In Grand Island, you’ll find a level of friendliness and community spirit that’s truly contagious and which convinces new residents to make it their lifelong home. The opportunities to get involved and create new friendships are limitless. You will find a wide range of community service groups and clubs for those with shared interests, churches of every denomination, and an active Chamber of Commerce that promotes professional and personal development, as well as business growth. You can also choose from a host of classes for dance, martial arts, aerobics, gymnastics, and more through Grand Island’s Department of Parks and Recreation, YMCA, YWCA, and other community organizations. Grand Island has invested in a wide variety of quality private and public recreational facilities to match almost every interest.

Veterans Athletic Complex

Island Oasis Water Park Our 80-acre Veterans Athletic Field Complex has 10 lighted softball fields, multiple soccer fields, a splash pad, and pickleball courts, with plans underway for expansion. This complex hosts over 5,000 baseball and softball players each year.

The only life-size, gardenscale railroad in Central Nebraska provides rides through Stolley Park and is the perfect way to enjoy a summer afternoon or evening.

Stolley Park Railroa

d 11

With options as varied as the Nebraska weather, sports enthusiasts will never lack something to do. Facilities includes a bowling alley, tennis and racquetball courts, softball and soccer fields, shooting park, pickle ball, and more. Here are a few highlights:

Community Fieldhouse Our 70 thousand square foot Community Fieldhouse features a portable synthetic turf floor, an indoor playground, and a sports floor for soccer, flag football, volleyball, basketball, and baseball.

The Kids' Kingdom The Kids’ Kingdom public fun center at Stolley Park offers enough fun, climbing ropes, mazes, obstacle courses, fire poles, and more to keep youngsters busy for hours.

Jackrabbit Run Golfers will be pleased to discover four public and private courses, including Jackrabbit Run, an 18-hole public course selected as one of the top public golf courses in the Midlands by the Omaha World Herald.

Fitness enthusiasts will enjoy over 16 miles of off-street recreation trails running throughout the city, with plans to extend pathways to take you through Grand Island's scenic rural areas. And when you just want to enjoy some good old-fashioned outdoor fun, Grand Island’s many parks offer picnic areas, bandstands, sledding areas, frisbee golf courses, and horseshoe courts. k r a ip g it is V map! il a r t l l u f a for

ENJOYING AN ACTIVE CULTURAL SCENE There’s no need to drive far and wide for a night on the town to show off your artistic side, or to enjoy a little bit of culture. Grand Island’s art shows and galleries showcase the works of talented Nebraska artists. Art in the Park, held each year in July in shady Stolley Park is a can’t-miss event, featuring works in every medium from regional artists. The Grand Island Little Theater (GILT) delights audiences with a lively assortment of productions featuring local talent, at the Hornady-Marshall Theater at College Park. Their summer program, GILT Jr., is a week-long theater camp for students that teaches kids about all aspects of theater and culminates in a final performance for a live audience. Residents and visitors enjoy frequent live performances by professional musicians or entertainers scheduled by the Grand Island Concert Association. All concerts are presented in the Grand Island Senior High School Auditorium. Movie buffs will appreciate the several theaters in Grand Island. The historic Grand Theatre shows second-run films, and often hosts live music, speakers and comedians. This art-deco-style theater is operated by a nonprofit organization dedicated to its preservation. Grand Island residents can find the information they need at the Edith Abbott Memorial Library. With well over 100,000 volumes, this truly vibrant facility offers a spacious children’s section, meeting rooms, and cutting-edge technologies.



MAKING AN IMPACT THROUGH LIFELONG LEARNING Whether you are looking for a quality school system that’s just right for your children or seeking ways to pursue an advanced degree, Grand Island offers excellent educational opportunities.

The region is also served by Northwest Public Schools, which includes a preschool, three kindergarten through 8th grade schools, and a high school, located in the northwestern part of town.

Strong community support has resulted in an excellent pre-kindergarten through 12th grade public education program offered by Grand Island Public Schools. Operating under the mission, “Every Student, Every Day, a Success,” the Grand Island Public School district employs approximately 2,300 people and serves a diverse body of approximately 10,000 students. More than 60 percent of the school district’s teachers have earned a master’s degree. Teachers are thoroughly trained in student assessment to measure academic progress and compliance with state and national standards. High-quality instruction and programs are available for students at every level and ability, including special needs and high-ability learners. GIPS has developed six Academies of Grand Island Senior High, which includes 19 pathways, to further prepare students to make positive contributions to society and thrive in an ever-changing world.

The Northwest schools serve over 1,400 students; approximately 750 students attend the high school. The school system provides a broad curriculum for all ages in a setting that is large enough to offer a wide range of opportunities, yet small enough to maintain a personal touch. Grand Island is also well-served by four private elementary schools, two private middle schools, and two private high schools. Central Catholic Schools welcome all faiths and weave faith and spirituality into the daily curriculum. Heartland Lutheran High School uses a Christcentered education to prepare students for service to His Church and the world.


Central Community College Central Community College is a two-year college serving 25 area counties in central Nebraska. The Grand Island campus offers career and technical programs leading to some of today’s hottest careers in business, skilled and technical sciences, healthcare, information technology, and communications. The campus also offers a full array of courses for students to earn an associate of applied science degree, diploma or certificate, and academic transfer degrees for students wishing to transfer to a four year college. Central Community College offers select credit courses to qualified high schoolers through the Early College program. 20

The Grand Island campus provides education in electrical technology, welding and related topics for students interested in these career fields.

College Park College Park is a multi-function facility providing classroom and performing space for classes and programs offered by a wide assortment of educational and arts organizations. Offerings include associate degree programs from Central Community College and community outreach, and continuing education programs from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension Office and Central Nebraska Area Health Education Centers (CNAHEC).

Bellevue University For more than 50 years, Bellevue University has met the needs of central Nebraska’s adult students with flexible class schedules and innovative, careerrelevant degree programs that help students earn credit through partnerships with community colleges. By offering both online accelerated and in-class options, students can learn when their schedule allows. Bellevue University, a fully accredited institution, is award-winning in online learning and offers bachelor and master degree programs respected by employers.

Explore a university environment, start your bachelor’s degree program, supplement your community college studies, or earn affordable earlyentry university credit hours while still in high school. With flexible class offerings, you can fit individual courses into your busy schedule. At College Park, you’ll find friendly, engaging and highly skilled university professors and community members, and access to plenty of free parking right in your neighborhood. It’s UNK, just closer to home.

Wayne State College Wayne State provides dual credit courses for high school students in Grand Island looking to get ahead on their college education. More than 500 Grand Island students are currently on the path to a bachelor’s degree with courses in biology, communication, astronomy, education, literature, physics, among other subjects. Wayne State also offers a variety of graduate programs for Grand Island professionals seeking to take the next step in their careers. Master’s programs include education, counseling, criminal justice, public relations and an award-winning MBA, to name a few.

University of Nebraska Kearney At College Park, Grand Island-area residents have a UNK location that offers a variety of University of Nebraska courses close to home.

Grand Island’s adult education opportunities don’t stop there: Nebraska Law Enforcement Training Center Joseph’s College of Beauty Xenon International School of Hair Design, Inc.




PROMOTING TOURISM THROUGH FIRST CLASS ATTRACTIONS AND AMENITIES Tourism is Nebraska’s third-largest industry, and Grand Island is home to some of the state’s finest attractions. Regardless of whether you’re into arts and culture, sports, or the natural beauty of the Platte River valley, we’ll exceed your expectations in Grand Island. With over 875,000 square feet of meeting, event and exhibit space, and nearly 2,000 hotel rooms, no other city between Lincoln and Denver can offer the size of facilities as those in Grand Island. Grand Island is proud to be the host community of the Nebraska State Fair. More than 330,000 people attend the Fair annually. As Nebraska's entertainment event with concerts, strolling acts, fair food, shopping and the carnival midway, the Nebraska State Fair is fun for the entire family. Exhibitors from 4-H, FFA and Open Class participate in various competitions, including livestock and equine. The Nebraska State Fair is held at Fonner Park in late August. Each year, thousands of fans come to Fonner Park for the live thoroughbred horse races which run from late February through early May. The jewel of the racing season is the $75,000 Pump and Pantry/Gus Fonner Stakes in April, which attracts horses and racing fans from across the country. Year-round races are simulcast from all major race tracks. The Nebraska Racing Hall of Fame and the VanBerg Family Racing Collection are also housed at Fonner Park. The Thompson 4-H Horse Arena (indoor and outdoor), along with 15 barns, allows for horse shows in the racing off-season. Seasonal full-service recreational vehicle parking is also available.


Crane Trust Nature and Visitors Center, located just 20 minutes from Grand Island at Interstate 80, Exit 305, is a primary stop for travelers who come from around the world to experience the natural beauty of Nebraska’s Platte River Valley, including the Great Sandhill Crane Migration each spring. The Visitor Center is home to miles of hiking trails along the Platte River, an observation tower, live bison herd, beautiful art gallery, gift shop, and premier meeting facilities. This lush stopover sits on thousands of acres of wetland meadows and grassland prairie, with year-round viewing of native plants and wildlife.

Heartland Public Shooting Park, located just west of Grand Island, is a shooting enthusiast’s paradise. The 420-acre park offers sporting clays, trap and skeet shooting, a rifle and pistol shooting facility, plus an archery range and seven-acre lake. National events such as Super Retriever Series Trials and the 4-H Shooting Sports Invitational Championships have been held here. Camping sites are also available. The property includes 26 miles of equestrian and pedestrian trails. The Heartland Events Center, located at Fonner Park, is the perfect location for conventions, trade shows, athletic and sporting events, concerts and more. The arena comfortably seats 6,000 to 7,500 people and is surrounded by breakout rooms, locker rooms and dressing rooms including the technical equipment necessary for sporting events and tournaments. The Bosselman Conference Center, located inside the Heartland Events Center, offers a professional setting for business and educational meetings, training and conferences, large banquets, and organizational functions. Stateof-the-art audio and video equipment and professional catering services provide the amenities necessary to host a successful event.


Stuhr Museum of the Prairie Pioneer Praised as “one of the top 10 places to relive America’s past” by Good Housekeeping magazine and named “2016 Outstanding Tourism Attraction” by the Nebraska Tourism Commission, Stuhr Museum of the Prairie Pioneer is a world-class, nationally recognized educational and cultural living history institution that tells the story of Nebraska’s early settlers. The museum spans 200 acres and includes over sixty, 100-year-old buildings that were carefully restored.

Grand Island has a rich history In 1857, German settlers left Iowa and headed west to Nebraska to start a new settlement on an island known by French traders as La Grande Isle. By the summer of 1868, the Union Pacific railroad extended to what is now known as Grand Island, and greatly influencing the growth and prosperity of the community. The city boomed in the 1880s and survived a devastating recession in the 1890s. The arrival of the Lincoln Highway in 1916 furthered tourism, commerce, and development. Today, Grand Island is a thriving metropolitan city. Grand Island is Nebraska’s fourth largest city, birthplace of actor Henry Fonda, three time All-American City (1955, 1967, and 1981), and 1997 Outstanding Nebraska Community.


GRAND ISLAND'S UNIQUE EVENTS DRAW VISITORS FROM AFAR Grand Island is home to many annual special events that attract thousands of people from throughout the region. Here are but a few great reasons to head to Grand Island: Dedicated to the farmers and ranchers of the Great Plains and western Corn Belt, Husker Harvest Days is an annual outdoor farm show featuring over 80 acres of exhibits and 700 acres of field demonstrations. Billed as the “World’s Largest Totally Irrigated Working Farm Show,” over 100,000 visitors come to this three-day event held each September, which showcases the latest agricultural equipment and technology. Recognized by the “Guinness Book of Records” for hosting the most marching bands, the Harvest of Harmony Parade takes place every year on the first Saturday of October. Nebraska’s largest parade attracts approximately 100 high school bands and 80 floats for a parade competition downtown, a pageant, and a field show competition at Grand Island Senior High School.


The Heartland Hoops Classic is a unique tournament-like event featuring high school basketball teams of different classes in one setting. This annual event is held in February, prior to district play, at the Heartland Events Center. It is the only event of its type in the state. Rodeo Grand Island takes place in the spring at the Heartland Event Center and is a nationally televised event featuring the biggest names in rodeo and bull riding. The Aksarben Stock Show, the nation’s largest 4-H livestock show, also calls Grand Island home, drawing in thousands of 4-H youth, families, and supporters from across the country. They make use of the nearly 500,000 square feet of state-of-the-art exhibition, livestock, and equine facilities at Fonner Park. The Aksarben Stock Show takes place in late September.

HEAR Grand Island

Grand Theatre Car Show

Railside Christmas

ARRIVE Grand Island’s downtown has gone through a transformative process in the last 10 years. What once was an underutilized part of the community is quickly becoming one of the hottest places to eat, shop, and gather. Branded “Railside,” the award-winning downtown area attracts the eye of developers and entertainers alike. From St. Patrick’s Day drinks at McKinney’s Irish Pub to celebrating Railside Christmas, there is fun to be had all year round. Hear Grand Island is a free summer concert series located in Railside Plaza that runs from early June to late August and features indie bands from across Nebraska. Businesses such as Prairie Pride Brewery, GIX Logistics, Amur, The Happy Brush, The Chocolate Bar, Studio K Art Gallery, Helium, Zabuni Coffee and Kinkaider Brewing (just to name a few) make Railside a true destination spot in Grand Island. The development is just getting started downtown. Several buildings are currently undergoing renovation into upscale apartments and lofts or into community offices and workshop spaces. These developments continue to bring new life and businesses to the downtown area.




Today, St. Francis offers sophisticated medical diagnoses and treatment with the goal to provide the specialized treatment you need, conveniently close to home, where you can be supported by your loved ones.

Grand Island is home to three hospitals: St. Francis Medical Center, Grand Island Regional Medical Center and the U.S. Veterans Administration Medical Center. The community also has a wide variety of medical clinics, numerous nursing homes and assisted living facilities, dental, optical, and chiropractic offices. The ever-growing Grand Island medical community of more than 100 physicians continues to advance medical treatment available in the region.

The CHI Health Regional Cancer Center at St. Francis offers a multidisciplinary approach to cancer care and a team dedicated to tailoring treatment to each individual patient. With medical and radiation treatment in a beautiful new facility on the hospital campus, patients will find personalized care provided by a one-of-a-kind cancer team.

The Fire Department’s Emergency Medical Services and Midwest Medical Transport provide 24-hour emergency medical care and transport. LifeTeam offers air transport to patients with a medical or surgical emergency needing advanced care provided by a trauma center, a cardiac cath lab, or a stroke team. CHI Health St. Francis believes that human kindness is at the root of all healing. It means being there for the community through thick and thin, which has been their mission for nearly 135 years.


The Grand Island Regional Medical Center, locally owned and operated, opened in 2020. Offering services ranging from outpatient surgery to interventional radiology, the physicians and staff at the Grand Island Regional Medical Center embody a spirit of personal connection and a recognition of the importance of patients understanding who is making health care decisions with them. Their devoted providers are committed to delivering the highest quality healthcare to Grand Island and the surrounding communities. This dedication develops a sense of pride within the community and a personal stake in the future of the Grand Island area.

The Veteran’s Administration Medical Center is a federal facility with nursing home care beds and residential substance abuse beds. Medical and intensive care inpatient services are provided locally, and specialty care is provided at the veteran’s facility in Omaha. The Surgery Group of Grand Island was founded in 1999, with the belief that the best treatment comes when you treat patients like family. The physicians provide a myriad of services including colonoscopies, EGDs, breast cancer surgery and reconstruction, tummy tuck, lap-band surgery, and more. They provide these services not only in Grand Island but in satellite clinics throughout Nebraska. The Surgery Group of Grand Island is a part of the Bryan Physician’s Network.

Enjoying a busy and happy retirement Grand Island has a wide variety of retirement resident options, including independent apartments, assisted living, and skilled care facilities for those needing more personal and medical assistance. With a multitude of choices, there’s bound to be one to match your particular needs and interests.


Making safety a top priority Grand Island goes the extra mile to ensure this community is a safe place to live. The Grand Island Police Department provides municipal police services, including patrol, emergency response, criminal investigation and apprehension, crime prevention, and community-based programs. The Grand Island Fire Department (GIFD) is an all-hazards, career fire department dedicated to providing excellent service to the community. The GIFD received a Class 1 rating from the Insurance Services Office (ISO), which places them in the top 1 percent of all fire departments nationally in terms of providing effective fire protection. In addition to providing exceptional fire protection, the GIFD also provides emergency medical response and ambulance transport services. GIFD personnel operate out of four strategically located fire stations which allows for a fast response to all areas within the city limits of Grand Island.




BUILDING OPPORTUNITIES THROUGH BUSINESS AND INDUSTRY Our business community and civic leaders are busy paving the way to new opportunities for the future. Entrepreneurs will find everything they need right here in Grand Island.

Our excellent work ethic, combined with Grand Island’s low cost of living, is attractive to businesses seeking to relocate. Nebraska Workforce Development offers programs that match job seekers to job openings, and helps businesses compete in a changing marketplace.

Doing business the right way Grand Island is the county seat of Hall County. Its commercial center enjoys a population of about 104,000, and a workforce of 58,000, who live within an easy 30-minute commute of the city. This area is known for its low unemployment rate, high labor productivity, low absenteeism, and turnover rates. Agriculture, manufacturing, and tourism comprise Grand Island’s top three industries. Over 100 manufacturing plants provide jobs for more than 7,000 area residents. As one of the highest per-capita retail centers in the state, shoppers travel to Grand Island from over 200 miles away. A high number of underemployed workers provide a tremendous pool of prospective employees for local and new business endeavors. Nebraska is a Right-to-Work state, which gives employees the freedom to decide whether or not to join or support a union.

To further enhance the area’s workforce, Grow Grand Island, the Grand Island Area Chamber of Commerce, and city leaders are working with Wayne State College to develop a workforce initiative, the Grand Island Co-op Program, to bring college interns to Grand Island businesses. Participants in the program go through three years of classes and training at WSC, and then transition to a year-long cooperative educational experience with Grand Island businesses. The goal is to retain those young adults at the businesses after graduation to help meet our workforce needs in high skill and high wage areas. 43

Moving products and people Grand Island is a thoroughfare for Union Pacific and Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroads and the Nebraska Central Railroad diesel fleet. Over 140 trains can pass through the city in a 24-hour period. Grand Island is also conveniently located close to Interstate 80, one of the country’s main east-west arteries, and U.S. Highways 281, 30 and 34, and State Highway 2. Central Nebraska Regional Airport offers twice-weekly nonstop service to Las Vegas and Phoenix-Mesa on Allegiant, and American Airlines offers twice-daily service to Dallas Fort Worth. Travelers can fly to all parts of the world with just one stop. The airport terminal is one of the most advanced and energy-efficient airport terminal designs in use today. The 124th Air Cavalry Squadron’s Chinook Helicopter Base is located just east of the airport and serves 230+ cavalry and aviation maintenance Nebraska Army National Guard soldiers.


STRENGTHENING THE COMMUNITY THROUGH LEADERSHIP With the construction of the Nebraska State Fair facilities at Fonner Park, livestock and agricultural shows have emerged as a strong target market for central Nebraska. From the larger Junior National Hereford Show to the Aksarben Stock Show, events Grand Island could not previously host are now held at the livestock buildings at Fonner Park. To ensure these facilities are marketed in a coordinated, comprehensive fashion, representatives of the Nebraska State Fair, Fonner Park, Chamber of Commerce, and Convention and Visitors Bureau formed the Grand Island Livestock Complex Authority (GILCA). GILCA and its representatives collaborate to promote these facilities and communicate the economic impact associated with the national shows.

Grow Grand Island, Inc. is a comprehensive and collaborative approach to growth and progress for the area. From its visionary, community-based origin in 2014, Grow Grand Island has vigorously pursued a broad program of work in collaboration with the Chamber of Commerce, Economic Development Corporation, Convention and Visitors Bureau, City of Grand Island, and Hall County.

Current priorities include workforce housing, recreation, tourism/image, workforce sustainability, broadband, entrepreneurship, and targeted development. Grow Grand Island is led by a strong executive committee, leaders, and partners who engage with the community to identify impactful initiatives that help the area be a great place to live work and play. Grow Grand Island is also proud to be part of the AARP Livable Community Network. Participation in this network emphasizes the importance of strategic planning through the lens of people of all ages and abilities. The network also provides solution sharing with other communities throughout the country, as well as best practices, tools, and resources. To learn more about Grow Grand Island, visit There are many ways to connect and get involved.


FUTURE DEVELOPMENT IN THE COMMUNITY COMING SOON The Grand Island Casino Resort at Fonner Park will be a $100 million resort with 20 table games, 650 slot machines with the ability to increase up to 850 slot machines, and a Sportsbook and Show Lounge on the gaming floor. Guests can enjoy a wide variety of dining choices, including Ruthie's Steak & Seafood fine-dining restaurant, a sports bar and grill, family dining, and a grab-and-go restaurant. Plans include a 116-room boutique hotel with an indoor and outdoor pool, and a full-service spa and salon.

The Grand Island Casino Resort at Fonner Park will be majority-owned and operated by Elite Casino Resorts, LLC, an established and leading land-based casino operator in Iowa, owning a geographically diverse portfolio of three properties spread across the state. Elite Casino Resorts, LLC management is owned by Dan Kehl, Bobby Kehl and Karlyn Ollendick. Dan and Bobby inherited their interest in hospitality from parents Robert and Ruth Kehl, who began their foray into the hospitality business in 1973 when they purchased a 150-passenger sternwheeler, River Rogue, for dinner cruises. In March 1990, Robert and Ruth's Dubuque Casino Belle was granted the first riverboat gaming operator's license in Iowa, becoming the first Americanflagged gambling vessel.


When land-based casinos were licensed in 2004, the Kehls led the Iowa gaming industry forward, opening Riverside Casino & Golf Resort in 2006 and Grand Falls Casino & Golf Resort in 2011. Rhythm City Casino Resort in Scott County, Iowa, was reopened by Elite in 2016. Today, the second generation of the Kehl family, led by CEO Dan Kehl, has continued their family's success by providing the highest possible level of guest satisfaction along with top-notch quality facilities and amenities. Grand Island is a natural fit for Elite, given its experienced management team, status as a leading regional gaming operator, record dedication to sourcing goods and services locally, and desire to partner with the Grand Island community.


For Grand Island and central Nebraska, the development of the Grand Island Casino Resort at Fonner Park will be one of the most consequential and significant developments in decades. The planned integration of the new resort will complement and enhance the existing facilities at Fonner Park and bring new attention, awareness, and support for horse racing and the Nebraska State Fair. The resort will bring tens of thousands of additional visitors to Grand Island each year and attract new conferences and visitors to Grand Island from an even greater geographic area. The addition of the Grand Island Casino Resort at Fonner Park will broaden our market sphere of influence and strengthen and expand our trade area.

GRAND ISLAND AT A GLANCE Grand Island is ranked as the 19th fastest growing metropolitan area in its peer group of the 81 smallest metropolitan areas in the United States.

Grand Island Population: 51,267 (2019) Hall County Population: 61,353 (2019)

Unemployment Rate

Median Household Income

Home Ownership

College Education





Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information and listings contained herein. The Grand Island Area Chamber of Commerce assumes no liability for errors or omissions.

2021 - Photos in the publication were used with permission from Central Community College, Cheryl Opperman - Crane Trust Photography Instructor, Chief Industries, CHI Health Saint Francis, Countryhouse Residence, Edith Abbott Memorial Library, Grand Island Convention and Visitors Bureau, Grand Island Area Chamber of Commerce, Grand Island Area Economic Development Corporation, Grand Island Public Schools, Grand Island Regional Medical Center, Nebraska State Fair, University of Nebraska Kearney, City of Grand Island, and Wayne State College. DATA SOURCE: U.S. Census.


THANK YOU TO OUR ADVERTISERS! Ace Hardware..................................................... 08 AGI-MFS.............................................................. 23 Amur Equipment Finance................................. 14 Associated Staffing.............................................14 Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices................ 08 Bosselman Enterprises..................................... 12 BTS Communications........................................ 08 Central Community College............................. 18 Central Nebraska Regional Airport................. 45 Century 21.......................................................... 38 CHI St. Francis.................................................... 33 Conestoga Mall.................................................. 31 Crane Trust......................................................... 31 Credit Management.......................................... 03 Equitable Bank................................................... 14 Essential Personnel........................................... 14 Fairfield Inn/Candlewood Suites...................... 38 Five Nines........................................................... 02 Five Points Bank................................................. 34 Grand Island Livestock Complex Authority.....05

Grand Island Economic Development............ 45 Grand Island Public Schools............................. 51 Grand Island Regional Medical Center........... 52 Grand Island Tourism....................................... 31 Hamilton Telecommunications....................... 05 Heartland Events Center/Fonner Park............ 27 Home Federal Bank.......................................... 18 Hornady.............................................................. 45 JBS....................................................................... 23 Ken's Appliance and America's Mattress....... 41 Keystone Properties.......................................... 05 Mary Lanning..................................................... 40 Mead Lumber.....................................................12 Nebraska Fire and Sprinkler............................ 08 Nebraska Medicine........................................... 09 Nebraska State Fair/Aksarben......................... 26 Pizza Ranch........................................................ 41 Stuhr Museum................................................... 31 University of Nebraska at Kearney................. 19 Wayne State College......................................... 22

We hope you enjoyed this tour of our community!