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Planned renovations to make HHD premier farm show site againPlanned renovations to make HHD premier farm show site again

Improvements to the pavement, underground electrical grid, storm sewers and drainage system will likely begin after 2017 show.

Tyler Harris

July 24, 2017

4 Min Read
PREMIER SHOW SITE: Matt Jungmann says after renovations to the Husker Harvest Days site, the show site will once again become the premier farm show site in the U.S.

Back in the 1980s, ’90s and early 2000s, the Husker Harvest Days site was considered the premier farm show site in the Midwest. Matt Jungmann, show manager at Farm Progress, hopes that after a renovation project, the show will become the premier show site once again. And after 40 years, much of the basic infrastructure is due for an update, Jungmann says.

Over the next year, Farm Progress hopes to make major improvements in electrical distribution, water lines, pavement and other upgrades at the show site.

"I've been managing the Farm Progress Show since the mid-1990s," Jungmann says. "For the first decade, Husker Harvest Days was the facility to be. When the Decatur and Boone sites came along with paved roads, updated storm sewers and underground electrical distribution, Husker didn't hold that title anymore. If we can make those infrastructure improvements, we'll take a big step forward, catch up and make HHD the premier infrastructure site in a premier location to hold farm shows in the country."

Major renovations
Assuming that funding from local private and public partners comes through, renovations can start as early as the end of the 2017 show.

If all goes according to plan, these upgrades should include about 6 miles of pavement on the HHD streets, perimeter fencing around the site to lock the area down during the off-season and protect infrastructure, a storm sewer and drainage system, new water lines for plumbing, and an underground electrical distribution system.

PUTTING PLANS TOGETHER: Show manager Matt Jungmann (right) and Tim Gergen, civil engineer at The Clark Enersen Partners in Lincoln, who is working with Farm Progress in the renovation project look over a map of the show site. With the help of funding from local private and public donors, Jungmann hopes renovations can start as early as the end of the 2017 show.

"A big benefit of pavement is keeping the dust down. If we have a hard surface, we won't have to run dust control trucks through the crowds," Jungmann says. "If we get rain and mud during setup, we won't tear up the site before the show starts."

One of the goals moving forward is to move the entire electrical grid underground, and install new transformers to feed electricity to each block of the show site. The transformers will also be bigger — going from 25 to 75 kVA transformers, tripling the electrical capacity of the site and providing more flexibility to exhibitors.

Jungmann also plans to update entry and egress structures to accommodate bigger equipment, and retrofit right of ways to accommodate bigger equipment and semi and forklift traffic during setup and teardown.

One of the ongoing challenges at the show site is drainage, since there is only about 1 foot of fall from west side of the show site to the visitor parking lot.

"Currently, a raindrop that falls at the Craft Tent has to run all the way through the show site, leave at east end of show site and leave at the east end of parking lot," Jungmann says. "We're going to plan to get that raindrop underground within 100 feet and not have to deal with it again."

"For over 30 years, [site manager] Roger Luebbe has been doing a great job of darn-near making water run up hill," Jungmann adds. "We're hopeful to put the finances behind it to make it a lot better from the start, so Roger doesn't have to work so hard like he has for 32 years."

Community steps up
As Jungmann notes, there are still a number of pieces that need to come together to make the project happen and most of those pieces are funding-related.

Because HHD brings an average of $7.6 million to the Grand Island area over the course of the three-day show each year, Jungmann notes the community has been enthusiastic in continuing its support of the show. In June, Grand Island City Council voted to approve a resolution of intent to continue to work with Farm Progress on show site improvements, and will vote on the next step in the process on July 25. It will be the next in several steps toward procuring funding for renovating the HHD site.

"We are going to continue to work with engineers and a lot of stakeholders in central Nebraska to try to line up a plan and the funding to renovate the site and get the new electrical distribution, hard surface roads and drainage, and bring the HHD site back to the level it was earlier in its life," says Jungmann.



About the Author(s)

Tyler Harris

Editor, Wallaces Farmer

Tyler Harris is the editor for Wallaces Farmer. He started at Farm Progress as a field editor, covering Missouri, Kansas and Iowa. Before joining Farm Progress, Tyler got his feet wet covering agriculture and rural issues while attending the University of Iowa, taking any chance he could to get outside the city limits and get on to the farm. This included working for Kalona News, south of Iowa City in the town of Kalona, followed by an internship at Wallaces Farmer in Des Moines after graduation.

Coming from a farm family in southwest Iowa, Tyler is largely interested in how issues impact people at the producer level. True to the reason he started reporting, he loves getting out of town and meeting with producers on the farm, which also gives him a firsthand look at how agriculture and urban interact.

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