Nebraska City, Neb.--The Kimmel Orchard, a Nebraska City landmark, will remain an important part of the community for a long time to come, thanks to the generosity of the Richard P. Kimmel and Laurine Kimmel Charitable Foundation, Inc. Today the Kimmel Foundation purchased the orchard from current owner Dan Gettinger and leased it to The National Arbor Day Foundation.

The new arrangement pays tribute to the orchard's heritage, while ensuring its future as an important research, demonstration, and educational center. Richard P. and Laurine Kimmel established the orchard in and helped nurture it until , when they sold it to their long-time manager Bill Oberdick. Oberdick then sold the orchard to Dan Gettinger in . History came full circle today as Gettinger sold the orchard to the Kimmel Charitable Foundation.

"Mr. and Mrs. Kimmel always had a special fondness for this place," said Ernie Wyeneth, president of the Kimmel Foundation. "Assuring the long-term operation of Kimmel Orchard for the benefit of the public will not only be a lasting tribute to Mr. and Mrs. Kimmel's memory, but will also help achieve the Kimmel Foundation's objective of advancing agriculture and horticulture in the area.

"The Kimmel Foundation has leased the orchard to The National Arbor Day Foundation for its use in advancing tree planting and care and in educating the public about the many uses of trees," Wyeneth added.

John Rosenow, president of the Arbor Day Foundation, said his organization is pleased to help preserve this approximately 90-acre orchard, well known for its apples, cherries, and cider.

"The National Arbor Day Foundation is proud to support the Kimmel Foundation's efforts to maintain Kimmel Orchard as a vital part of Nebraska City's orchard heritage," Rosenow said. "This arrangement will also give the Arbor Day Foundation a greater opportunity to demonstrate to the public the many beneficial uses of trees."

Among the plans for the management of the orchard is a cooperative relationship with the University of Nebraska-Lincoln's Horticulture Department. "We are excited about the plans with the Department of Horticulture to plant alternative fruit crops including grapes at the Kimmel Orchard," Wyeneth said. "This collaboration will only be enhanced by the Arbor Day Foundation's educational programming and conferences at Arbor Day Farm and Lied Conference Center. These two nearby properties will provide even greater educational opportunities for visitors."