Grand Island, Nebraska
|Grand Island, Nebraska|
Hall County Courthouse in Grand Island
Location of Grand Island in County and State
|• Mayor||Jeremy Jensen|
|• Total||28.55 sq mi (73.94 km2)|
|• Land||28.41 sq mi (73.58 km2)|
|• Water||0.14 sq mi (0.36 km2)|
|Elevation||1,860 ft (567 m)|
|• Estimate (2013)||50,550|
|• Density||1,700/sq mi (660/km2)|
|Time zone||CST (UTC-6)|
|• Summer (DST)||CDT (UTC-5)|
|GNIS feature ID||0829622 |
Grand Island is the principal city of the Grand Island metropolitan area, which consists of Hall, Merrick, Howard and Hamilton counties. The Grand Island metropolitan area has an official population of 83,472 residents.
Grand Island has been given the All-America City Award three times (1955, 1967, and 1981–82) by the National Civic League.
Grand Island is home to the Nebraska Law Enforcement Training Center (NLETC) which is the sole agency responsible for training law enforcement officers throughout the state, as well as the home of the Southern Power District serving southern Nebraska.
In 1857, 35 German settlers left Davenport, Iowa, and headed west to Nebraska to start a new settlement on an island known by French traders as La Grande Isle, which was formed by the Wood River and the Platte River. The settlers reached their destination on July 4, 1857, and by September had built housing using local timber. Over the next nine years, the settlers had to overcome many hardships, including blizzards and conflicts with Native Americans.
Surveyors from the Union Pacific Railroad laid out a town called Grand Island Station and many settlers living on Grand Island moved to the new town, located slightly inland from the island. In 1868 the railroad reached the area, bringing increased trade and business. By 1870, 1,057 people lived in the town and in 1872 the town was incorporated as Grand Island.
On June 3, 1980, Grand Island was hit by a massive supercell storm. Through the course of the evening, the city was ravaged by seven tornadoes, the worst of which was rated F4 on the Fujita Scale. The hardest hit area of town was the South Locust business district. There were five deaths as a result of the tornadoes.
Tornado Hill is a local landmark created as a direct result of the tornadoes. Debris that could not be recycled was burnt near Fonner Park and buried within Ryder Park, on the west end of town. The base of the hill was a hole 6–8 feet deep and nearly 200 feet across, and the hill is 40 feet high. It is used for sledding in this naturally flat area.
Geography and climate
Grand Island is located in Nebraska.  According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 28.55 square miles (73.94 km2), of which, 28.41 square miles (73.58 km2) is land and 0.14 square miles (0.36 km2) is water..
|Climate data for Grand Island|
|Record high °F (°C)||76
|Average high °F (°C)||32.6
|Average low °F (°C)||12.2
|Record low °F (°C)||−28
|Average precipitation inches (mm)||0.54
|U.S. Decennial Census
As of the census of 2010, there were 48,520 people, 18,326 households, and 11,846 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,707.8 inhabitants per square mile (659.4/km2). There were 19,426 housing units at an average density of 683.8 per square mile (264.0/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 80.0% White, 2.1% African American, 1.0% Native American, 1.2% Asian, 0.2% Pacific Islander, 13.1% from other races, and 2.4% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 26.7% of the population.
There were 18,326 households of which 35.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 47.5% were married couples living together, 12.0% had a female householder with no husband present, 5.2% had a male householder with no wife present, and 35.4% were non-families. 29.1% of all households were made up of individuals and 11.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.59 and the average family size was 3.20.
The median age in the city was 34.7 years. 27.6% of residents were under the age of 18; 8.7% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 26.7% were from 25 to 44; 23.9% were from 45 to 64; and 13% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 49.8% male and 50.2% female.
As of the census of 2000, there were 42,940 people, 16,426 households, and 11,038 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,000.2 people per square mile (772.2/km2). There were 17,421 housing units at an average density of 811.5 per square mile (313.3/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 86.72% White, 0.42% African American, 0.33% Native American, 1.31% Asian, 0.17% Pacific Islander, 9.64% from other races, and 1.42% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 15.94% of the population.
There were 16,426 households out of which 34.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 53.0% were married couples living together, 10.4% had a female householder with no husband present, and 32.8% were non-families. 27.1% of all households were made up of individuals and 11.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.55 and the average family size was 3.09.
In the city, the population was spread out with 27.0% under the age of 18, 9.5% from 18 to 24, 28.6% from 25 to 44, 20.8% from 45 to 64, and 14.1% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 35 years. For every 100 females there were 98.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 96.0 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $36,044, and the median income for a family was $43,197. Males had a median income of $28,925 versus $20,521 for females. The per capita income for the city was $17,071. About 9.9% of families and 12.8% of the population were below the poverty line, including 16.7% of those under age 18 and 8.1% of those age 65 or over.
Construction of a primary water detention cell for flood control by the Central Platte River Natural Resources District, the city of Grand Island, Hall County and Merrick County has been delayed by slow clean up of burning grounds with buried and unexploded gravel mines on the former Cornhusker Army Ammunition Plant.
In 1981, a plume of contaminated groundwater was discovered beneath the former Ammunition Plant, which occupies 20 square miles west of Grand Island. The plume extended to northeast of the plant for about five miles and migrated towards Grand Island. RDX was discovered at 371 parts per billion (ppb) and TNT at 445 ppb on the plant site and just over 100 ppb off-site. The safe drinking water standard for RDX and TNT is 2 ppb. 
Cornhusker had produced bombs during World War II, the Korean War and Vietnam War and had been put on standby status in October 1973. During munition production, wastewater contaminated with explosives, and explosives-contaminated mops, buckets and other equipment were buried in 56 earthen surface impoundments. Dried solids were periodically scrapped from those impoundments and taken to the burning grounds for incineration and burial. After the discovery of contaminated groundwater in 1981, the Army extended Grand Island city water lines to rural subdivisions (that as of 2014 are part of the Capital Heights and Le Heights areas) in 1985, because well water may have exposed residents to contaminated water. In 1987, the Army burnt about 40,000 tons of explosives-contaminated soil. In 1993, city water lines in northwest and north central Grand Island were extended. In 1998, a pump-and-treat facility that continues to operate was built to cycle contaminated water through an explosives-removal system and discharge it as clean water into Silver Creek. The Army injected “hot spots” of contamination with a molasses-based substance to help degrade RDX and TNT with bacteria present under T&E cattle company feedlot more quickly, which allegedly helped lower contamination levels. In the late 1990s and early 2000s the bomb production line sites (the so-called load line structures), were cleared and burnt. As of 2014[update], TNT is still present at 30 ppb for and 7 ppb for RDX in the hot spot under load line 1.
As of 2014[update], the most heavily contaminated areas at Cornhusker are the burning grounds with buried and unexploded gravel mines. Their excavation proceeds very slowly, sifting one cubic yard at a time, because of the explosives' shock sensitivity. Excavation is expected to finish by January 2015, followed by environmental testing, estimated to take 24 to 36 months.
Interstate 80 is located four miles south of the city. US Highway 281 is the main north-south route in the city, running through the city's west edge south to Hastings, Nebraska, and north to O'Neill, Nebraska.
Central Nebraska Regional Airport is located in Grand Island. On September 4, 2008, Allegiant Air began nonstop service from Grand Island to Las Vegas, Nevada. In June 2011, American Eagle Airlines began providing service to Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas, twice daily.
Grand Island has two hospitals; Saint Francis Medical Center and the Veterans Affairs Hospital.
- Grand Island Public Schools
- Grand Island Northwest Public Schools
- Central Catholic High School
- Grand Island Senior High School
- Heartland Lutheran High School
- Northwest High School
- Edith Abbott, social worker
- Grace Abbott, helped draft the Social Security Act
- Rick Allen, NASCAR commentator for NBC Sports
- Bil Baird, puppeteer
- Bo Evans, computer pioneer
- Joe Feeney, tenor on The Lawrence Welk Show
- Henry Fonda, Academy Award–winning film actor
- Channing Hill, jockey
- George J. Marrett, test pilot and author
- John Parrella, former NFL player
- Tom Rathman, former NFL player
- Eve Ryder, artist
- William Henry Thompson, former U.S. Senator from Nebraska
- Simeon Burt Wolbach, pathologist
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- "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2012-06-24.
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- "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Archived from the original on 2011-05-31. Retrieved 2011-06-07.
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- "Grand Island, you are officially a metro area". Omaha World Herald. Retrieved 14 March 2013.
- "The Pioneer Spirit". City of Grand Island, Nebraska. 2011. Retrieved June 2, 2011.
- "History". City of Grand Island, Nebraska. 2011. Retrieved June 2, 2011.
- Frisvold, Brad (2011). "The Real Night of the Twisters". gitwisters.com. Grand Island, NE: The Independent. Retrieved June 2, 2011.
- O'Neill, Colleen (2011). "The Real Night of the Twisters". gitwisters.com. Grand Island, NE: The Independent. Retrieved June 2, 2011.
- "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23.
- "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for Incorporated Places: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2015". Retrieved July 2, 2016.[permanent dead link]
- United States Census Bureau. "Census of Population and Housing". Archived from the original on May 11, 2015. Retrieved June 22, 2013.
- Tracy Overstreet (10 December 2014). "Off-site RDX contamination cleanup completed". Grand Island Independent. BH Media Group Holdings, Inc. Retrieved 13 December 2014.
- "Nebraska State Fair". Nebraska State Fair Park. Archived from the original on 14 October 2009. Retrieved 2 October 2009.
- Bain, David Haward (2004). The Old Iron Road: An Epic of Rails, Roads, and the Urge to Go West. New York City, New York: Penguin Books. pp. 60–2. ISBN 0-14-303526-6.
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