Heartland Events Center Keeps GI Busy

A steady rise in foot traffic will be hitting Grand Island all week as officials plan to transition from the cattle show to 4H shooting and the Danger playoff game.

Several hotels around the events center are booked or nearly booked due to the events being held at the Heartland Events Center.

The facility was nearly a decade in the making and the city of Grand Island continues to reap the benefits of having the Heartland Events Center in town.

The 170,000 sq. ft. arena with a seating capacity of more than 6,000 has become home to many events over the years.

Cindy Johnson with the Grand Island Chamber of Commerce said, "What this community identified years ago as important for growth and development has come to fruition."

Johnson said the center made Grand Island's bid for the state fair a successful one, and since then the area also has seen more businesses growth.

One such business that came to Grand Island because of the center and state fair is the Best Western Hotel on Locust street. Matthew Ripp, general manager at the Best Western, said, "We're proud of those facilities bringing in businesses for us."

Ripp says they're gearing up for a busy weekend ahead.

He said, "I've turned many people away unfortunately, we're filling up and we had to give people other lodging solutions, but it's a good problem to have."

He said this week the cattle show kept them busy, and they expect a rush of people for the 4H trap shoot, as well as many incoming Danger fans.

"We're seeing an increase in business because The Danger made the playoffs," explained Ripp.

City officials say it's not just hotels seeing an economic impact; they say thanks to the events center the impact is felt all around town.

"They'll be at the Heartland Events Center, and the Heartland Public Shooting Park, Stuhr Museum, Island Oasis Water Park; there will be 4H-ers all over this community," shared Johnson.