Our Town Kearney: Parks & Recreation

Pure Nebraska
Published: Feb. 17, 2023 at 10:00 AM CST
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KEARNEY, Neb. (KOLN) - The residents of Kearney are proud of their wide-ranging recreational opportunities, and there are more exciting developments to come.

During a visit to Kearney, we learned about some of the latest developments when it comes to recreation. One is the Ernest Grundy Tennis Center. “It opened in May,” Kearney Director of Recreational Services Scott Hayden said. “It’s six indoor tennis courts. It was largely funded by an anonymous donor, but we also had some matching grants and local donations, and a partnership with UNK helped fund this building. It’s been a long time coming. We have a very active tennis community in Kearney, and it’s honestly been growing since the 1970′s. It’s an active sport here. The partnership with UNK, Kearney Tennis, and Parks and Recreation will allow us to offer programs, and it’s really turned into a neat venue.” The University of Nebraska at Kearney is bringing the Division II national tennis tournament to town, and that will take place at the tennis center, the last full weekend of February.

There’s another big venue in the works for Kearney. “It will be in the hotel district of Kearney near the interstate,” Hayden said. “We will feature the Kearney Indoor Sports Complex. We hope to break ground this summer. There will be 210,000 square feet of space. This will feature basketball courts, volleyball courts, an indoor turf field, indoor pickleball courts and a track.”

According to Eric Hellriegel, who is the Director of Parks in Kearney, there are many things happening when it comes to parks in the community. “Our signature park is Yanney Park,” Hellriegel said. “It’s about 80 acres, We have all sorts of amenities within that park. Probably one of the most exciting projects we are working on right now is the gardens at Yanney park. Phase one was completed a little more than a year ago. We are embarking on what we refer to as phases 2 and 3, which are going to include an addition to the gardens, as well as an overlooking pavilion that will be used to host events.”

Kearney residents also are proud to say they have a whitewater trail in town. “We initially started that project as a water trail, which would be just a float from Yanney park down to the movie theater area,” Hellriegel said. “As part of the growth and interest in this, we were able to develop a couple of whitewater drops within the north channel of the Platter River. So folks can now enjoy just over a 2 mile float from within our corporate limits, but they get to try out real Class 2 whitewater in Kearney, Nebraska. That brings people into the community. We draw people from all over to participate in a unique water sport from a state of Nebraska perspective.”