Homes for Rent in Grand Island, NE: What You Need to Know
Grand Island, Nebraska, is not an island. The city with a curious name is famous for an incredible natural phenomenon – the massive migration of sandhill cranes on the Platte River sandbar every spring.
There used to be an island in the Platte River, which French traders likely discovered in the 1700s and called la grande isle. In 1857, German immigrants from Davenport, Iowa, built a settlement on the island. By 1866, the Union Pacific Railroad laid out a town inland called Grand Island Station. The settlers on Grand Island moved to the new town. In 1872, the town was incorporated as Grand Island. Today the Platte River island no longer exists; it was effectively lost when the river’s north channel was dammed.
Things to Do in Grand Island
From mid-February to early April every year, about half a million sandhill cranes assemble on the shallow part of the Platte River. It’s the world’s largest crane roost. Thousands of visitors, from scientists to amateur birders, watch the migration every year. The observation tower at the Crane Trust Nature and Visitor Center offers the perfect viewing location during the migration. For a change of pace, visit the Stuhr Museum of the Prairie Pioneer, a 200-acre spread that includes a “living history” town featuring a blacksmith shop, general store, and log cabins.
Cost of Living
All small cities are not made equal. Grand Island (population: 51,267) is not only affordable but also idyllic. Its cost of living rate, food, and housing costs are 2.7%, 27.4%, and 24.6% lower than the national average, respectively. The median gross rent in the city is $737. The Cornhusker State collects 2.46% to 6.84% in income tax and a sales tax rate ranging from 5.50% to 8%.
Know Your Neighborhoods
More than 20 years of economic revitalization effort has paid off in boosting downtown Grand Island’s growth. More millennials and other professionals are living downtown, thanks to the construction of more apartments, condos, and residential units over the years. In the suburbs, Doniphan and Wood River are within commuting distance of Grand Island, and they are known for their good schools, cleanliness, and safety.
Weather and Climate
As part of the Tornado Alley, Grand Island and all of Nebraska are prone to twisters. On June 3, 1980, a devastating supercell storm struck Grand Island. In less than three hours, the storm produced seven tornadoes that killed five people, injured about 200 others, and caused about $300 million in damages. It’s the most unusual storm to ever hit south-central Nebraska. Barring any disasters, Grand Island usually gets 28 inches of rain per year, less than the national average of 38 inches, and 28 inches of snow annually, which is the U.S. average.