Inclusive Playground, Habitat Home Design Deserves Salutes | Staff Editorials


A Saturday tribute is paid to Tom and Sue Pirnie, Central Community College and the City of Grand Island for being behind a $1.5 million inclusive playground.

Tom and Sue Pirnie of Grand Island pledged $200,000 to the project.

As a token of appreciation, according to a post by freelance writer Brandon Summers, Grand Island City Council on Tuesday approved naming the 27,000-square-foot project the “Pirnie Inclusive Playground.”

The playground, which will be built in Ryder Park near North Front Street, is designed to be handicapped accessible and serve children with a range of ability levels.

The project was conceptualized by students from the Occupational Therapy Assistant program at CCC’s Grand Island campus.

“Last year a group from (CCC) came to us and said they would like to help raise money for a new playground, an inclusive playground,” the parks director explained on Tuesday. and City Recreation, Todd McCoy.

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Tom and Sue Pirnie are the owners of Grand Island Express and GIX Logistics. Tom has served on CCC’s Board of Governors since 1994.

“We are thrilled to support a project created by CCC students for children of all abilities on Grand Island,” Pirnie said, in a statement via CCC. “Opportunities for local youth and families are essential for the betterment of the community.”

The creation of a playground at Ryder Park was approved by City Council in July 2021.

The current fundraising campaign includes an endowment of $250,000 to cover the annual maintenance costs of playground equipment.

For the project, 15% of funds have been raised, CCC reported in a statement. Construction is expected to start in 2023.

Additional information on the project is available at

A second Saturday tribute to Amos Anson and Habitat for Humanity of the Grand Island area for receiving the honor of the Best in Affordability Home Design competition at Habitat for Humanity International’s annual conference last week in Atlanta.

In the category, the Grand Island location came in ahead of all other Habitat affiliates nationally, according to an article by freelance writer Jeff Bahr.

Honoré was an open-concept floor plan for a three-bedroom home, designed primarily by Amos Anson of Grand Island.

Grand Island Habitat’s 111th home, currently under construction, uses the award-winning floor plan. This home is under construction at 2085 Nelson Lane in the Habitat subdivision.

This is the first time that Grand Island Habitat has built an open concept home.

The Grand Island Habitat building committee developed the plan for the three-bedroom home, which totals 1,072 square feet.

“As a group, we gave our opinion and I executed that vision,” said Anson, who is Grand Island Habitat’s longtime construction manager.

It’s “pretty cool” to win a national Habitat contest, he says. Nearly 100 Habitat affiliates entered the design competition. The Habitat International award includes a $4,000 grant that will be used to build the house.

The process is “the reason I’ve dedicated so much of my time to organizing,” said Anson, who has worked with Habitat for nearly two decades.

Over the years, most locally built Habitat houses contained three bedrooms and one bathroom. Sometimes, if the need arose, a four-bedroom house was built, Grand Island Habitat general manager Alyssa Heagy said.

In January of this year, Grand Island Habitat adopted open concept plans for two, three and four bedroom homes.

“Building criteria has changed,” Heagy said. Habitat International has released new guidelines calling for greater accessibility.

New homes can be converted quickly and easily if a family’s needs change, Heagy said. A change may involve a family member who needs a wheelchair.

Plans allow easy extension.

The 111th house will be completed by the end of June, weather permitting. It is expected to be the home of Evelin Garcia Ixtabalan and Celbin Gomez Perez, a married couple with one daughter.

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