GRAND ISLAND, Neb. — A major park in Grand Island is getting revitalized. 

In 2017, some concerned citizens formed a group in response to the city’s proposed budget cuts. Friends of Grand Island Parks saved the city greenhouse and the city horticulturist’s position.

Since then, the group has focused on generating funds to support gardens. Committee member Vikki Deuel said they chose to improve the Stolley Park garden for a special reason.

“We started Friends of the Parks, and we thought if we want the city to really see what a nice park can look like, we need to have a good garden and we picked the Stolley Garden because of the history of Stolley Garden, the history of the park,” Deuel said. 

Throughout the years, they have earned some grants that have allowed the group to update the garden. In 2021, they installed walkways that are handicapped accessible. Last summer, they ran underground water lines.

Deuel said she’s involved in the project because she likes giving back to the community. 

“You know a community is only as good as the people who are in it, so if you want your community to do more, be more, then what are you doing to make it happen?” Deuel said. 

This year, they are focusing on the gardens. Each garden will have a theme and visitors will also find historical artifacts, sculptures and signage.

“I hope people get away from their cellphones, get away from their living rooms and their recliners, and come out and just enjoy nature," Deuel said. "It’s a beautiful place to recharge and get away from stress and just enjoy life."

Friends of Grand Island Parks said they hope to have eight gardens finished this year. They will start fundraising for a Celebration Circle and Celebration Pavilion next.