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Nature park planned in west Gering
May 27, 2016 Jerry Purvis   

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Jerry Purvis/Gering Citizen A horse arena overgrown with weeds, once used to train horses, sits at an unused lot at the corner of M Street and Five Rocks Road. Developers want to bring the lot to life as a nature park, and make it one of the more attractive gateways to Gering.

A corral and surrounding outbuildings at the corner of M Street and Five Rocks Road could develop into an area attraction.

At the Gering City Council’s May 23 meeting, local resident Ashley Lara received approval to rezone the property from Residential Medium Density to Rural Residential Estate District.

With the zoning change, Lara would like to spruce up the area, with plans of making it into a nature park and gardens, along with an area for small animals.

Meanwhile, several area businesses have come forward to help Lara with the planning.

The farm type setting with a home, garage, sheds and corrals sits on about four acres. Owners Bob and Royann Unzicker had listed the land for sale for some time. According to the city’s administrative record read during the council meeting, buyer interest had been curbed because of the “potential interest to retain the site with the continued use as a small farm and ability to use the corrals for horses and small animals.”

Lara had been making improvements to the property and remains interested in buying the lot, subject to rezoning.

The Unzickers, not at the meeting, sent a letter of support for Lara’s request, stating their confidence in her plan to revitalize the property and restore it to its full potential.

“The property sits on the old Oregon Trail and people have to pass by to get to the Scotts Bluff National Monument,” Lara said. “This is a community grassroots effort to revitalize and clean up that corner. I’d like to implement a nature center with gardens, horses and small animals where the community can come for different interactive events.”

The property is now being leased for purchase.

“The Unzickers have been very supportive in making this dream a reality,” Lara said. “The purchase contract is rather complicated, but my goal is to open a nature center by the spring of 2017.

This wouldn’t be possible without community support and local businesses who are willing to contribute to this. I’m excited to create a positive environment for our youth.”
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