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Our Town Crete: Investing in parks

Published: Aug. 18, 2021 at 1:35 PM CDT
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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - During our visit to Crete, we quickly discovered the city is putting plenty of work into revitalizing and highlighting local parks so that everyone can enjoy them.

We talked with city administrator Tom Ourada at Library Park. “This was constructed in conjunction with our $8 million library,” Ourada said. “It’s the newest park, and it highlights the neighborhood surrounding it that didn’t have a park before.” The library next to the park is equally impressive, and is just two years old. “Library Park features a playground area, a shelter area, and it has a walking trail,” Ourada said. “There were many donations that made this happen. City money, and the civic group Friends of the Library stepped up and provided a great deal of money to the project.”

Turns out that parks are very important to communities like Crete. “Crete didn’t grow much for the last 20 years or so,” Ourada said. “In the last 5, we’ve seen quite a bit of growth. We’ve opened up five subdivisions in the last few years, and in order to attract and keep new families, we need to have amenities like nice parks. We’ve built Library Park, we’ve expanded City Park, and we are looking at spending $2 million for improvements at Tuxedo Park.”

City Park has a number of attractions that local residents enjoy. “We have the heart that we bid on and won in Lincoln in 2017,” Ourada said. “That’s been popular with people. People take selfies there, and it highlights the diversity of our community. The old fountain used to be there, but it was vandalized in 2014. We found the people that had the original molds. They reconstructed it, and we put it in its current spot. We had no idea just how important this fountain is to the community.”

The city mayor is also hoping to close off a parking area at City Park, and put in ADA accessible playground equipment for people with disabilities, so they can enjoy the park. The city is in the middle of designing that. So, if you get a chance to come to Crete, be sure to check out the new library, Library Park, Crete’s central City Park, and even take a drive over to Tuxedo Park to see all of the unique outdoor options Crete has to offer.

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