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  • Writer's pictureTonja Brown

Looking back, looking ahead & bit of bragging...

Updated: Apr 6

Grow Grand Island has been working diligently and purposefully over these last six years to fulfill our mission “to cultivate bold ideas that generate business and quality of life opportunities in our area through planning, partnering and doing.” Our work is often done quietly, and we aren’t very good at bragging about our successes.

As I look back over the last couple of years, initiatives such as Look Local Grow Local, EDGE Upskilling, Cooperative Degree-Based Internships, Event Incentive Fund, and the GRANDlife campaign are impactful initiatives, especially regarding workforce, tourism, and our local economy, but they are not very tangible.

Initiatives such as the replacement of entryway signs, the Sculpture Walk, “Rock the Lot” at Fonner Park, and the expansion of Amur Plaza, however, are both impactful and tangible. Regardless of the initiative’s visibility, the Grow Grand Island resume is growing, and as an organization, we are maturing. This makes us excited about looking ahead.

In the near future, the mall redevelopment project will be big and will pay dividends for years to come. Expanding Mormon Island and the trail leading to it will also be big—work is being done behind the scenes, and fruition is still in question—but, the puzzle is taking shape. Coming more quickly is the Pirnie Inclusive Playground. Watch for it to unfold this spring/summer.

As I brag about Grow Grand Island’s resume, it is important that I circle back around to our mission, especially the phrase “planning, partnering and doing.” This is how this stuff gets done. It isn’t just Grow Grand Island making it happen. It is accomplished through community leaders and champions with great ideas, through leveraging resources, through partnering, through advocating, and most importantly, through collaboration.

Moreso than ever before, Grow Grand Island’s core partners—Chamber, Economic Development and Tourism—connect regularly to discuss and collaborate. In addition, the Grow Grand Island Executive Committee meets monthly and includes liaisons from the City, City Council and Hall County Commissioners, along with representatives from the core partner organization boards, Fonner Park, and a variety of area businesses.

Grow Grand Island endeavors to make our community, our area, a great place to live, work and play. And it is a team sport! Grand Island is fortunate to have strong organizations, businesses, and leadership. The more we connect, the more we collaborate, the more we plan and partner, the more we can accomplish.

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