For years, long-time Gering Parks Director Ron Ernst’s grandchildren have called nearby Gentry Park Grandpa’s Park because that’s where they bring him to play.
But after a Friday dedication ceremony attended by approximately 50 people, there is now a special tree in Grandpa’s name in the park just two blocks from his home.
Ernst, now retired for several months after 41 years as the city’s parks director, says he saw the city planting his tree in the park a few days ago and thought nothing about it. But Ernst said when he and his wife Peggy started walking toward the park today and saw all kinds of people he knew at the park,he put everything together and knew it had something to do with the tree.
He called the dedication of the tree in his name “a very nice honor.”
In his 41 years, Ernst led the development of Monument Shadows Golf Course, the Charles Fenster Arboretum in Northfield Park, upgrades to Oregon Trail Park, additions to the Gering Cemetery and establishment of the Roubideau RV Park and Five Rocks Amphitheater. And that doesn’t mention maintaining eleven parks in various Gering neighborhoods.