State plans to transfer veteran land back to Grand Island

Posted By: Kelsey Murphy

Governor Ricketts announced the state’s plan for Grand Island’s Veteran Campus in a press conference Tuesday morning.

He said the state will be returning hundreds of veteran campus acres to the city of Grand Island.

"We think this is a real win–win for the state of Nebraska, for the citizens of Nebraska and for the citizens of Grand Island to be able to have the opportunity to continue to use that ground that has been used for the veteran’s home," Governor Ricketts said.

The decision follows a competitive bidding process to move the Grand Island campus to Kearney, a move scheduled to be complete by 2018.

Governor Ricketts joined with Grand Island Mayor Jeremy Jensen and State Senator Mike Gloor hope the transfer will bring economic opportunity to Grand Island.

"It will create jobs and will continue to allow us to honor our veterans," State Senator Mike Gloor said.

The redevelopment of nearly 500 acres will happen in two phases.

Some of the land is expected to be used for retail development and a new a cyber security training school.

The school is expected to bring jobs to the public and veterans.

The first classes are expected to start in late 2016.

Ricketts says the move will also benefit the state as a whole when Grand Island takes over the care and maintenance of the veteran cemetery located on the land.

A cemetery Mayor Jensen says will not be negatively affected by the redevelopment.

"Grand Island has a very special bond with our veterans and we plan to maintain the integrity of this ground to celebrate its history," Mayor Jensen said.

In addition to taking over the veteran cemetery, Grand Island also plans to build a new public cemetery on the land.

All of this has to be approved by the Grand Island City Council before it can move forward.