Grand Island is making plans to move on once the state veterans home moves out.
The Central Nebraska Veterans Home is expected to open in Kearney next fall.
An agreement between the city and the state announced in late 2015 will return the property to the city.
Grand Island Mayor Jeremy Jensen readily acknowledges he is not a real estate developer and says his job is to get the property ready to return to the community.
“We needed somebody to really help us with that and just recently we made the selection of Olsen and Associates to really guide us down that path,” Jensen tells Nebraska Radio Network affiliate KUVR.
Grand Island submitted a bid to build a new veterans home, but lost to Kearney.
Jensen acknowledges many Grand Island residents remain passionate about losing the veterans home, but he says the city needs to look toward the future, not the past.
Jensen says while Olsen and Associates has been hired to draft a redevelopment plan, he wants public input before settling on anything.
“I think it’s a time for everybody to have a voice,” Jensen says. “It doesn’t necessarily mean every idea that is brought to the table is going to be seen through to fruition, but it will give everybody an opportunity to provide some input.”
Jensen says he wants public hearings to look forward, not air old grievances.
“What I don’t want to see is the public meetings becoming a mockery of the process.”
By Tyson Havranek, KUVR