This week, Nebraska will join in the nationwide celebration of “Community Development Week” (CD Week).
CD Week is celebrated each year across the U.S. to acknowledge the impacts of community-building programs like the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) and HOME Investment Partnerships Fund (HOME). Each year from coast to coast, these and other resources help communities carry out meaningful projects that enhance residents’ quality of life. The week is also about acknowledging the partnerships and local-level engagement that make community development projects possible.
“Developing our communities is essential. Creating amenities that make our young people excited to raise a family in Nebraska is essential,” said Department of Economic Development (DED) Director Anthony L. Goins. “It’s only a given that at the local level there will always be funding challenges. We want our community leaders to know that at the State level, we are here to help them 100 percent; that there are state and federal resources available to support the incredible work they’re doing to better their communities, and subsequently the state of Nebraska.”
Each year during CD Week, DED recognizes a community within Nebraska’s non-entitlement funding area with the “Showcase Community Award,” which is bestowed for outstanding achievements in community and economic development over the past five years. For its long list of achievements that continue to attract the attention of residents, visitors and economic developers alike, the City of Beatrice has been selected as this year’s Showcase Award recipient.
In downtown Beatrice, a more than $3 million revitalization effort has transformed streetscapes and businesses, restoring life and vibrancy to the historic heart of the city while sparking new commerce and tourism. Since the completion of its 2016 housing study, the City has planned, built or rehabilitated more than 200 housing units. Meanwhile, the completion of 35-plus miles of the Chief Standing Bear Trail has given residents and visitors a new and scenic way to get some exercise while enjoying the local landscape and wildlife. These are just a few of many achievements for which Beatrice is receiving this year’s prestigious award.
“The Beatrice community has seen exciting growth,” said Michael Sothan, Executive Director of the nonprofit Main Street Beatrice. “Our successes have happened because people believe Beatrice is worth fighting for, is worth investing in and is worth supporting. Our local economic development team includes NGage, the Beatrice Area Chamber of Commerce, the City of Beatrice, Gage County and Main Street Beatrice. We are excited for what the future holds. We will always have challenges to overcome, but they are much less daunting when our community shows a drive to succeed.”
Officials from the entitlement funding areas of Bellevue, Grand Island, Lincoln and Omaha will also recognize local organizations this week for their outstanding dedication and achievements in community and economic development. Meanwhile, communities across the state are encouraged to support CD Week and spread the word with social media or other methods of their choice. Ideas include sharing local photos and success stories using the hashtag #CDWeek.
For more information about Community Development Week, or to read success stories from across Nebraska — or to submit your own community’s success story for consideration in next year’s award ceremony — visit opportunity.nebraska.gov/success.