In January of 1998, the idea for E.K. & Mary Yanney Heritage Park was introduced to the public. The park idea was conceived from a meeting between Michael B. Yanney, a native of Kearney, and City of Kearney officials. Based on his philanthropic values and strong sense of community, Mr. Yanney wanted to do something special for the people that call Kearney home. The acquisition of 80-acres in southwest Kearney was done and the park was named in honor of Mr. Yanney’s parents, E.K. and Mary Yanney.
Yanney Heritage Park is unique in the fact that it is a donor-driven park. Each component of the park has been donated by an individual, family or group. The park has its own Foundation is responsible for the development of the park. City of Kearney staff oversees the management of the park and works with the Foundation. This destination park draws people from the region. The 80’ Gottschalk Tower is the centerpiece to the park and overlooks the lake, amphitheater, splash pads, playgrounds, marina, flower gardens, and more. The Peterson Senior Activity Center was added in 2010 and provides programming, meals, and classes for its users. The park routinely hosts large special events, including Heritage Day, Crane River Theater performances, Relay for Life, and more.