In 2005, the Northeast Nebraska Economic Development District (NENEDD) completed an analysis of low-to-moderate income areas for Columbus (pop. 20,998). A list of needs was identified in targeted “CR Areas” and a strategy was compiled. The City then applied for Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding, ultimately totaling $121,967, to complete Phase II of the Nebraska Department of Economic Development’s (DED) Comprehensive Revitalization (CR) Program. This phase intended to engage in rehabilitation while partnering with NeighborWorks Northeast Nebraska to make considerable headway in the number of homes selected to be rehabilitated. The City’s matching program funding has gone toward making numerous infrastructure improvements throughout the areas.
With the funding, NeighborWorks Northeast Nebraska has completed four houses through DED’s Purchase/Rehabilitation/Resell program. The funding also has provided needed funding to upgrade the city’s sewer system, much of which was still the original construction dating to the City’s infancy. The water/wastewater pipe relining projects have extended the life of those system segments that would otherwise have to be removed and replaced with new lines had further deterioration occurred. Local Realtors® and the Columbus Telegram newspaper have helped promote the program.
Columbus will continue to partner with NENEDD, NeighborWorks Northeast Nebraska, and DED to further develop the City with the help of CDBG funds.