Our Town Grand Island: Railside

LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) – From shopping and dining to unique living spaces, the 42-block neighborhood of downtown Grand Island known as “Railside” has it all.

We chatted with Sherry Siwinski, Executive Director of Railside, about this exciting part of town. “This is the heart of Grand Island,” Siwinski said. “This is where it all started, where the first settlers settled and started to make this city possible.”

The idea to christen this downtown “Railside” originated in the mid-2000s. “We’re a Main Street community in Nebraska, so we’re accredited to them,” Siwinski said. “Part of that is defining what we have to offer here. It’s a bit like the old market in Omaha. It’s a way for us to define who we are and what we have to offer to the public.

The Hedde Building is one of many historic structures on Railside that have either been renovated or are undergoing renovations for business and living spaces. “It was built by Fred Hedde,” Siwinski said. “He built it in 1887. He actually bought the land for $ 2,000. He bought the Grand Island Independent newspaper in 1884, and after completing this building he moved the newspaper to this building. This building has housed many businesses over the decades. Currently, it houses the Grand Island Tourism Office, Railside Office, shops and apartments. We have three apartments here which are currently completed, with 17 more to come. There are a lot of apartments in these buildings downtown now, and there are some really cool spaces. I frequently get calls from people looking for apartments and looking for a place to set up their business.

There are so many highlights in the Railside area that it’s hard to name them all. Some of the highlights include the Grand Theater, The Tattered Book secondhand bookstore, clothing boutiques, Daily Dose cafe, Chocolate Bar, and antique stores such as Railroad Towne. “Of course there is the dining room,” Siwinski said. “We’ve got everything from this fun and rowdy Irish pub and breweries, to a classic spot for a Coney dog, upscale steaks and seafood.”

The next time you are in Grand Island, take some time to wander the streets of Railside and take in all that the area has to offer.

Copyright 2021 KOLN. All rights reserved.

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