Grand Island, Neb. — The Nebraska Department of Administrative Services (DAS) announced Wednesday that the State of Nebraska officially transferred the ownership of the former Grand Island Veterans’ Home (GIVH) property to the Community Redevelopment Authority (CRA) of the City of Grand Island. When the Central Nebraska Veterans’ Home in Kearney opened in January 2019, the GIVH property was transferred to DAS to maintain and facilitate its future use.
“Our goal in Administrative Services has been to work with the Grand Island community and city administration to transfer this property in a way befitting its noble historical mission while meeting the aspirations of the community,” said DAS Director Jason Jackson.
The GIVH was established in 1887 and admitted its first member, Civil War veteran Oliver P. Duncan, on June 28, 1888. Originally known as the Soldiers and Sailors Home, it consisted of one building and 640 acres of farm land, most of which was used to grow crops to feed the home’s members and generate income. Other buildings, including a chapel, hospital, carpentry shop, auditorium, greenhouse, post office, additional dormitories, and more were added to the campus over the years. While there have been many changes over the years, eight major buildings, a cemetery, and all 640 acres of farmland remain today.
“The community of Grand Island’s passion for caring for Nebraska veterans dates back to the initial conception of the state’s first veterans’ home in the 1880s,” said NDVA Director John Hilgert. “It’s exciting to see what the next chapter will be for these grounds and how the community will continue to honor and serve our veterans.”
The State and the City of Grand Island have been working together since at least 2015 to plan a new life for the GIVH. Together, the State and City determined that the CRA could assist Grand Island in meeting the City’s redevelopment goals. With the property deeded over to the CRA, the CRA plans to transfer the property to White Lotus Group, an Omaha based real estate development firm. White Lotus Group had the top development proposal in response to a State request for information issued in May of 2019. White Lotus’ plan was presented to the public during a public forum on September 26, 2019 and received positive feedback from the community.