$300,000 awarded for tourism development project in Red Cloud

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$300,000 awarded for tourism development project in Red Cloud

The Nebraska Department of Economic Development (DED) has awarded the City of Red Cloud with $300,000 in Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding in the Tourism Development category to renovate the three-story “Moon Block” building to house the National Willa Cather Center.

The Nebraska Department of Economic Development (DED) has awarded the City of Red Cloud with $300,000 in Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding in the Tourism Development category to renovate the three-story “Moon Block” building to house the National Willa Cather Center.

In turn, the City will award the funding to The Willa Cather Foundation, a non-profit association that oversees the largest number of buildings and sites on the National register of Historic Places devoted to an author in the United States.

The Moon Block building, owned by The Willa Cather Foundation, is structurally attached to the fully-restored Red Cloud Opera House, which serves to further increase the area’s entertainment and attraction appeal.

The overall proposal calls for developing the Moon Block building into a mixed use facility with the National Willa Cather Center, in addition to commercial and residential space. The first-phase CDBG project will renovate the three floors into the Foundation Center, a gallery, performance, and exhibit area that directly connects with the Opera House. An elevator will be installed along with handicap-accessible restrooms and building entryways, bringing the building into compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

An additional $1.8 million from Willa Cather Foundation sponsors and donors, including a Peter Kiewit Foundation challenge grant, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development grants, and many area business and citizen contributions will complete the project. The Nebraska State Historical Society and University of Nebraska-Lincoln Libraries Archives will provide additional technical support.

Federal funds are made available to DED from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s CDBG program to assist with the development of businesses and communities throughout the state. Funding requests for the program are administered by DED and available to local governments with populations less than 50,000 and counties in Nebraska.

For information about the Red Cloud project, contact Ashley Olson at 402-746-2653, or aolson@willacather.org

For information about CDBG Tourism Development funding, contact Steve Charleston at 800-426-6505, 402-471-3757, or steve.charleston@nebraska.gov .

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