The North Platte Natural Resources District (NPNRD)held its groundbreaking ceremony on Friday, March 9, for its Greenhouse Project and Education Area. The project sits on 1.6 acres of land that is leased from the Airport Authority of Scotts Bluff County.
“We’re thrilled to death to have many of our sponsors and people who have donated to the project join us today to dig a little dirt before construction begins,” said Barb Cross, assistant manager at the NRD.
The greenhouse, will be 126’ x 16’ and 14’ high, it is modeled after the one in Alliance, and will include a teaching facility.
The greenhouse geothermal energy will come from tubes, which are placed an additional eight feet below the ground to bring air into a blower that circulates the air around the facility. Thermostatically controlled fans on the outside walls of the building will push hot air out in the summer and circulate warm air in the winter.
The greenhouse will grow everything from citrus trees to vegetables, which will be donated to the local Veterans Administration with any overflow going to local food pantries in Scotts Bluff, Morrill, Garden, and Banner counties.
“We think we can raise bananas here and other different fruits, we want to keep them hard skinned for the backpack programs to donate to them,” Cross said. “We’ll have outdoor fruit trees to, apple trees, peach and we’re going to try pear, so all of them will be available for donation.”
Along with supplying healthy food and snacks for youth and others in the area. The NRD will also create a learning area for area students.
“Part of the project is educating kids, and we will have demonstrations on water use, saving water and why we need to save water,” Cross said. “Important issues for youth that we’ll be teaching here.”
Donors for the project included 21 donors and seven in-kind donors. The NET Grants Committee has recommended funding of the project to the full board, where a grant of $30,000 is possible.
Rotary has also announced the greenhouse, as its Rotary Gold Project. The fundraiser will be held April 14, at the Gering Civic Center and tickets are available at Platte Valley Bank Circle Drive and Platte Valley Bank Gering.