Much welcomed news from Gilman Park Arboretum is that paving of the 1.2 mile path is totally complete. The four-foot wide sidewalk makes the entire trail accessible for all visitors, including the residents of Pierce Manor. A sidewalk extension provides accessibility right up to the door of the Manor.
The project was made possible through the generosity of several local and area individuals and businesses. First of all, a $1000 grant was received from the Nebraska Statewide Arboretum’s Affiliate Excellence Program to get the project off the ground in 1999. The City of Pierce budgeted $5000 per year for the next several years to pour the sidewalk in stages and generous partial donations of labor were extended from local contractors Ken Hoffmann and Mike Wichman. A reduced price on concrete from Gerhold Concrete and a donation of 1 ten yard load from Hartland Concrete also helped greatly.
The paving was actually finished one year ahead of schedule due to donations received in 2004 to finish the project. During a fund drive to pay for the final section of the paving, $5588 was collected in only a few weeks. The final $2000 was received in a check from Ira and Virginia of Vienna, VA, who wrote, “The Harry and Bessie Cox family would like to thank the manor and the community for caring so well for Joyce Cox who was with you and tended to by you over so many years. She was wheelchair bound for many years and we came to realize how hard it was to get her to the arboretum where she could enjoy the beauty of the lake and park. We thought this donation for the sidewalk would help make some of their lives better being so close to the manor. Pierce is a friendly and wonderfully caring community and is very enjoyable and a nice place to visit.”
A huge “Thank you” goes out to all involved in making the paving a reality.