Tranquility Park being developed in Hershey

NORTH PLATTE, Neb. (KNOP) - The land was donated, the grounds have been tilled and trees have been planted, but the Village of Hershey needs some help to complete this project.

A piece of land, now titled, Tranquility Park, is being developed in Hershey, NE. (Source: Holly Barraclough, KNOP TV.)

The project is called "Tranquility Park." It's a park being built next to the existing Hershey Park. The land the new park is being commissioned on, sits right off the roundabout in Hershey and was donated by two longtime Hershey residents, by Ken Nieden and Andy Olson, who wanted the area turned into a park. The area is 70 feet by 780 feet.

That is when the Green Team Committee, a group established summer 2018, came together to make it happen. The Green Team Committee consists of members of the Hershey community that are dedicated to making the dream of Tranquility Park at reality.

The committee received a $9,000 Greener Towns Grant from the Nebraska Environmental Trust. As part of the grant agreement, the team is required to match the $9,000 with fundraising. Additionally, the park must have 50 plants per $1,000 received totaling 450 plants.

The area ground was tilled in the fall of 2018 and progress has been made when the weather allowed. The trees were obtained thanks to a $600 grant from Northwestern Public Service and picked out from Huebner's Nursery Lawn & Garden, according to Mike Epping, The Chairman of the Tree Board.

Epping said they researched what trees would work best in the space. "We work with the Nebraska Forestry Service. They have a list of trees that work best for Nebraska so, as a tree board, we got together and picked out what we thought would work best in this area."

Chairman of the Green Team, Michelle Thomas, said the park will be completed in phases and is a work in progress.

"We're taking it one little step at a time and having fun doing it, but it's definitely a commitment," said Thomas, "We will be working on this project for a while."

"We wanted to be an attractive area for when people come into Hershey that they can see and it will be inviting to them so we have lots of ideas we know not all of them to will come to fruition," said Thomas, "It will be a little bit more just a basic park with trails with greenery we hope to put a water feature in at some point in time."

Carol Hernandez is a Hershey resident and Village Board Member and said "I love Hershey, it’s my home. I think small towns are the best and I want to keep it alive and well. I just thank the whole community, it’s been great."

A planting day took place on June 29th where 22 volunteers placed plants into the ground at the park. On Arbor Day, three additional trees were planted by area 4th graders bringing their tree count, as of July 5th, up to 44.

Simplot donated the grass and fertilizer to be utilized, once the area is prepped and ready. Titan Machinery donated the machinery that prepared the ground for the trees to be planted.

The Green Team said if anyone is interested in helping with the project either, monetarily or with a donation of time or resources, contact them on their Village of Hershey Facebook page.

"We do appreciate the people that have donated our Facebook page fund so far. Thank you so much, we appreciate everything," said Thomas.