Black Hills Energy makes contribution to enhance recreation in Wayne


The City of Wayne’s Prairie Park received a $33,000 donation from Black Hills Energy, the natural gas utility serving Wayne and the surrounding area.

The contribution will provide funding to support the renovation of Prairie Park, a 47-acre park expansion project that includes the construction of a pond with fishing jetty, pedestrian bridge, kayak launch, 17 electrical RV camp sites, arboretum, and walking trail as well as an amphitheater pavilion. These amenities join the existing ballfields, dog park, and children’s playground.

The Prairie Park renovation will transform the existing green space into a multi-use recreational facility designed to attract visitors of all ages, creating a premiere destination within the region.

“Black Hills Energy is honored to support economic growth and prosperity in Wayne,” said Kevin Jarosz, vice president of operations in Nebraska and Iowa. “The benefit of having a beautiful, multi-use recreational space within one’s community is undeniable. The Prairie Park project is a testament to the City of Wayne’s unwavering commitment to building a thriving community for all citizens, and Black Hills Energy is privileged to be a partner in that endeavor.”

Members of the Black Hills Energy team joined representatives from the City of Wayne and other Prairie Park supporters to visit the park site and present the Foundation donation on Thursday, April 4.

“Black Hills Energy is a dedicated and long-time supporter of the community,” Wes Blecke, Wayne city administrator said. “We are grateful for their donation to the Prairie Park project and for their continued investment in Wayne. As we seek additional funding opportunities for the park, we hope that the Black Hills Energy contribution will encourage other corporate donors to support this transformational redevelopment as well.”

Black Hills Energy serves more than 300,000 customers across Nebraska in 319 communities. More than just a provider of natural gas, Black Hills Energy is proud to lift up the communities it serves by aiding in economic development efforts, contributing to first responder training and safety events, supporting nonprofits and community partners, and encouraging employee volunteerism. Combined, these efforts amounted to more than $934,000 in community impact in 2022 (2023 data available in June).

In addition to the company’s community impact, in late 2023, Black Hills Energy completed a 3-year project to upgrade the existing bare steel natural gas mains and service lines in Wayne with high density polyethylene, which is more resistant to corrosion. The $10 million project was part of the company’s proactive safety and resiliency work meant to modernize the natural gas system to prepare for Wayne’s continued growth as well as reduce methane emissions.

“The Prairie Park renovation, once completed, will be a tremendous success story for Wayne and something the community can be proud of for generations to come.” Jarosz said. “Black Hills Energy is honored to be part of that legacy.”

To learn more about Black Hills Energy’s community impact efforts, visit