50-Acre Park & Athletic Complex to be ‘A Game-Changer’ for Community
Fundraising campaign is launched
BENNINGTON, Neb. (Nov. 23, 2021) — The city of Bennington today announced plans to move forward with the largest public-private partnership in its history: a 50-acre park and athletic complex intended to be used year-round, by all ages and abilities, and designed to embrace the community’s agricultural heritage.
Located in the heart of Bennington between 156th Street and Bennington Road, Neumeyer Farm will be a central hub of activity. Plans call for seven regulation-size, multipurpose athletic fields to be utilized by the community’s rapidly growing soccer and football clubs, as well as parking for nearly 800 vehicles. A flexible layout allows the fields to be configured in a multitude of ways, accommodating practices, league games and tournaments for all levels of play. Walking trails and extensive landscaping will be woven throughout the complex, offering residents a place to enjoy the outdoors and providing a vital connection between Bennington proper and its outlying neighborhoods. In addition, an elevated green space will serve as a gathering spot for the community. Planned amenities include a great lawn/pavilion, a farm-themed play area and a splash pad that converts to an ice rink in the winter. Other possibilities being considered are tennis courts, sand volleyball courts and a dog park. Long-term, a fieldhouse and/or community recreation center could be built on the site.
“This project will be a game-changer for our community,” said Bennington mayor Zac Johns.
“Not only does it offer enhanced amenities for our booming community, it will also drive much-needed economic development. Once complete, we’ll be able to host numerous soccer and football tournaments, which will bring thousands of players and families to our area, many of whom will support our local businesses. There is a myriad of possibilities to utilize the green space for revenue generating events — from expanding our farmers market to hosting concerts in the park. This is really a transformative opportunity for Bennington.”
Neumeyer Farm is named for the Neumeyer family which first settled in Bennington in the late 1800s and farmed the area for several generations. In 2020, the family donated a portion of the property to the city.
Nancy Neumeyer, whose late husband Lowell was born nearby in his family’s home on 156th Street, emphasized her desire for Neumeyer Farm to be a place where families make memories, residents connect, and Bennington’s small-town charm is maintained. According to Neumeyer the area has always been a place people would gather. When Bennington was first established, it was the site of the town’s icehouse, and kids used to play in the adjacent creek in the summer and ice skate in the winter.
“Bennington has meant so much to our family,” she said. “I’m so glad it will continue to serve the community — for perpetuity.”
A local steering committee has been working for the past few years to create a long-term vision for the area. It is led by Tim Clark and Nichole Andersen of the Bennington Community Foundation, and comprised of Jeff Hill, president of Bennington Youth Football; Terry Landes, president of the Bennington Soccer Club; Nancy Neumeyer; Shane Pekny, a member of the Bennington city council; and several others who represent interested community groups. Stan Meradith, also with the Bennington Community Foundation and considered one of the leading designers of sports facilities in the United States, guided the design effort.
Neumeyer Farm will be built in phases, contingent on donations, with initial construction to begin as soon as spring 2022. The Bennington Community Foundation is inviting businesses, organizations, and families to participate in a fundraising campaign to help make Neumeyer Farm a reality.
“This is undoubtedly a big endeavor. It’s going to take the whole town partnering together to bring Neumeyer Farm to fruition,” said Tim Clark. “That said, we think people will see the site’s potential and be excited to contribute.”
Fundraising for the project officially kicks off on Tuesday, Nov. 30, as part of the community’s annual giving day — Together Bennington Gives. Individuals wishing to donate can do so by going to www.benningtongives.org/neumeyerfarm or by visiting the project website: www.neumeyerfarm.org.
Located in northern Douglas County, Bennington was founded in 1887 and incorporated in 1892. While the city is home to approximately 2,000 people, it supports a burgeoning school district of nearly 10,000 residents.