$1.9 million awarded to 13 communities for downtown planning and revitalization work

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$1.9 million awarded to 13 communities for downtown planning and revitalization work

The Nebraska Department of Economic Development (DED) has awarded $1,965,290 in Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding to 13 Nebraska communities to complete Phase I and II projects in the Downtown Revitalization category. These projects are designed to improve infrastructure and businesses within central business districts.

The Nebraska Department of Economic Development (DED) has awarded $1,965,290 in Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding to 13 Nebraska communities to complete Phase I and II projects in the Downtown Revitalization category. These projects are designed to improve infrastructure and businesses within central business districts.

The CDBG Downtown Revitalization Category is open to CDBG non-entitlement incorporated municipalities throughout Nebraska. Grants are administered by DED from the State’s annual allocation of CDBG funding from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Communities must first successfully complete the Phase I planning phase to qualify for the opportunity to submit a Phase II (implementation) application. Phase II awards up to $350,000 per project are available to implement those activities proposed within approved plans.

Following are the eight communities undertaking Phase I planning, award amounts, and brief project descriptions:

Beatrice (pop. 12,157)—$30,000 to conduct a new downtown revitalization study that addresses concerns relating to the fact that two major highways intersect in the heart of downtown, a challenging pedestrian environment, aging infrastructure, dilapidated buildings, and absentee landlords. The city’s matching contribution is $7,500. Contact Gregory A. Butcher at 402-228-5211 or gbutcher@beatrice.ne.gov

Brownville (pop. 132)—$30,000 to develop a comprehensive downtown revitalization plan that encompasses preserving the city’s historic buildings (including enhanced usage and more ready access), increasing property maintenance, developing new retail stores and visitor-oriented businesses, such as lodging properties, and improving existing promotional and visitor information. Brownville’s identity and charm is linked to its historic district and river town status. The village’s matching contribution is $6,975. Contact Kay Fish at 402-825-4551 or brownvilleclerk@gmail.com

Creighton (pop. 1,100)—$30,000 to create a downtown revitalization plan that provides steps for revitalizing the downtown’s infrastructure and buildings thereby minimizing potential slum and blight conditions. The city’s matching contribution is $9,300. Contact Lowell Schroeder at 402-379-1150 or Lowell@nenedd.org

Crete (pop.7,135)—$30,000 to develop a downtown master plan that outlines redevelopment solutions for aging structures, deteriorating building components and outdated and/or undersized public infrastructure systems. A small regional retail center, Crete is experiencing an uptick in Latino-owned businesses that are attracting more foot traffic to the downtown. The city’s matching contribution is $7,500. Contact David Taladay at 402-475-2560 or dtaladay@sendd.org

Kearney (pop. 32,174)—$14,500 to amend its 2011 existing downtown revitalization plan. The amendment will update existing conditions, proposed solutions to chronic problems, and opportunities for improvement as identified in the 2011 plan. The city’s matching contribution is $7,000. Contact Erick Hellriegel at 308-234-6456 or ehellriegel@miller-engineers.com

Minden (pop. 2,986)—$22,950 to complete a comprehensive downtown revitalization plan that lists goals and objectives based on a needs identification survey of residents, which could include mitigating dilapidated or deteriorating buildings, rehabilitating other structures, and improving infrastructure. The city’s matching contribution is $11,550. Contact Erick Hellriegel at 380-234-6456, or ehellriegel@miller-engineers.com

Neligh (pop. 1,542)—$27,840 to develop a downtown revitalization plan with short- and long-term goals for resolving existing blighted and substandard conditions. A declining population, absentee ownership, cost-prohibitive repairs to maintain buildings, and blight continues to challenge Neligh’s downtown district. The city’s matching contribution is $13,860. Contact Lowell Schroeder at 402-379-1150, or Lowell@nenedd.org

Superior (pop. 1,918)—$30,000 to prepare a downtown revitalization plan that offers solutions to eliminating barriers to investing in the downtown district and to making improvements that fosters economic growth. The city’s geographic location close to the Kansas border and at the intersection of two state highways makes it a major regional traffic center and retail hub. The city’s matching contribution is $9,300. Contact Charlie Wallace at 308-995-3190, or charliew@scedd.us

Following are the five communities undertaking Phase II projects, award amounts, and brief project descriptions:

Auburn (pop. 3,385)—$350,000 for renovation of buildings in Auburn’s downtown and Courthouse Square. Projects include brick work, painting, and roof repairs, replacement of windows and doors, and façade improvements among others. Examples of historical buildings impacted by the various projects include the Nemaha County Museum, State Theatre, and former Bank Building. The City’s matching contribution is $111,000. Contact Sherry Heskett at 402-274-3420, or sherry@auburn.ne.gov

Central City (pop. 2,921)—$350,000 for downtown water mains and sidewalk improvements along Highway 30 from D to B avenues. These downtown blocks are home to a majority of retail stores and businesses. Central City’s downtown water mains are at least 100-years-old and replacing both mains and sidewalks simultaneously is expected to improve safety for pedestrians and increase local commerce. The City’s matching contribution is $112,000. Contact Miles McGinnis at 308-946-3806, or ccecdev@gmail.com .

Falls City (pop. 4,216)—$350,000 for sidewalk, curb, gutter and lighting improvements along Stone Street from 16th to 17th streets in the downtown business district. An additional project includes facade improvements to the Commercial Building. Improvements to downtown Falls City are expected to promote economic growth and provide better overall access to area businesses. The City’s matching contribution is $111,000. Contact Gary Jorn at 402-245-2851, or g.jorn@fallscityne.us .

Fremont (pop. 26,340)—$350,000 for facade and building improvements, including brick masonry exteriors, structural deficits, replacement of antiquated sewer and water systems, and compliance with Americans with Disabilities Act. Fremont’s multiple-story buildings along Main, Broad and Sixth streets have been identified for redevelopment. Currently, the buildings provide valuable street-level space for specialty stores and boutiques. Converting the upper levels into housing units would go a long way toward alleviating the city’s housing shortage. The City’s matching contribution is $109,000. Contact Jean Van Iperen at 402-727-2624, or Jean.Kaup@fremontne.gov .

Plattsmouth (pop.6,467)—$350,000 for facade and building improvements contributing to Plattsmouth’s unique “Life Safety Incentive Program” for building owners. The program’s intent is to encourage upper story development for office space and housing units, among other goals. Protecting residents, patrons and physical structures by reducing fire risks and/or mitigating fire events through fire separation barriers, dedicated water lines for fire suppression, and sprinkler systems, as well as eliminating blight conditions are key elements of the program. The City’s matching contribution is $108,667. Contact Erv Portis at 402-296-2522, or eportis@plattsmouth.org

For information about DED’s downtown revitalization process, contact Brian Gaskill at 800-426-6505, 402-471-2280, or brian.gaskill@nebraska.gov .