About the Community
Grand Island is located in the south central region of Nebraska's Platte River Valley eight miles north of the intersection of Interstate 80 (east/west) and US Highway 281 (north/south). In addtion to US Highway 281, Nebraska Highway 34, US Highway 30 and US Highway 2 all travel through Grand Island.
A city of approximately 50,000, Grand Island is the economic growth area and the major retail trade area for south central Nebraska. Agriculture and manufacturing lie at the heart of Grand Island's economy. Three major agricultural and manufacturing industries, JBS Swift and Company (which ranks first in numbers of employees), Chief Industries, and CNH, serve as anchors. St. Francis Medical Center, third in number of employees, is a regional medical center. Principal Financial Group has a major branch office in Grand Island. The community also provides a wide range of medical, mental health, and nursing home services.
Grand Island has experienced growth in its property tax base. In the past two years 195 single-family homes and 35 multiple units have been constructed. Sixty seven percent of Grand Island residents own their own home.
The community's higher education needs are provided by Central Community and College Park, with Doane College and more. Hastings College is located 24 miles south of Grand Island and the University of Nebraska at Kearney is located 47 miles west of the city.
The Grand Island Public Schools and a U.S. Department of Education Mentoring Program Grant provide funding for the TeamMates Mentoring Program. TeamMates staff members have offices at Grand Island Senior High School and Barr and Walnut Middle Schools. A number of mentoring programs are operated and funded outside of the school district. These include Youth Leadership Tomorrow, Big Brothers/Big Sisters, and a Guest Teacher Program.
Among the many services offered in Grand Island are churches, Grand Island Little Theater, Stuhr Museum, Fonner Park Race Track, Heartland Events Center, St. Francis Medical Center, the YMCA, the YWCA, Island Oasis Water Park, parks, and recreational areas. Community members find golf, fishing, walking/hiking, swimming, skating, tennis, bowling, and movie theaters also available for leisure time activities.
America’s Promise Alliance, the nation’s largest alliance dedicated to children and youth, in partnership with Capital One, announced in January 2008 that Grand Island has been named a winner of its 2008 100 Best Communities for Young People (100 Best) competition. The 100 Best competition recognizes the 100 outstanding communities across America—large and small, rural and urban—that are the best places for young people to live and grow up. More than 300 communities in all 50 states applied for the honor in 2008. The 100 winning communities span 37 states.
Grand Island earned recognition as one of 2008’s 100 Best due to significant community contributions to create and maintain a healthy community for young people from birth to graduation. In this community, numerous organizations are the mechanisms that cultivate and support youth leadership and give youth a voice in community policy decisions. Examples of these organizations include public and private schools, the Coalition for Children, the Community Youth Council, the Multicultural Coalition, Youth Leadership Tomorrow, Student Wellness Center, Third City Community Clinic, City of Grand Island youth programs, mentoring programs, Heartland United Way agencies, non-profit agencies that serve youth, and programs for infant through preschool-age children. In addition, a wide variety of other organizations serve Grand Island’s youth.