Parks & Recreation

History of the Department

In 1965, about 270 acres of land (the area that is now the golf course and Gotte Park) were purchased with a federal grant and the Park & Rec Board was formed. When the land was purchased, there was only one tree on the property - now there are over 5000.

The architectural firm Leo A. Daly out of Omaha designed the plan for an 18 hole golf course, tennis courts, archery range, trap shoot range, softball complex, picnic area, driving range, and swimming pool. The Park & Rec board accepted all of the plan except for the golf course. A new design was created by local resident and Park & Rec board member Bruce Gilliland. He and his wife Wilma (1993 enshrinement to the Nebraska Golf Hall of Fame) have been the strongest proponents for the facility for the last 47 years. A small monument dedicated in their honor can be found by the first tee and the entrance road name was changed to Gilliland Drive in 2008.

In 1969, the facility opened with a nine-hole golf course, softball complex, picnic area, tennis courts, trap shoot range, archery range, and driving range.

In 1994, nine additional holes were opened, making the course a full eighteen.

In 1995, new irrigation was installed on the original nine holes.

In 2000, a Junior golf practice facility was built with a grant from USGA and private donors.

In 2005, a fifth set of teeboxes completed lengthening the course to over 6900 yards.

In 2007, a fourth water hazard was completed, including a waterfall. Three sand bunkers were also installed on the right side of hole number one.

In 2012, the fourth phase (out of five) was completed to renovate the ballfield complex to automated irrigation.

The facility currently serves over 400 children each summer for soccer and baseball. Junior golf participants average over 100 each year, and the city has strong high school golf teams.

In total, approximately 13,000 rounds are played each year on the golf course.