Once a sleepy bedroom community to Omaha, and home to Offutt Airforce Base, Bellevue, Neb., (pop. 55,510) has claimed the title of Nebraska’s fastest-growing city based on July 1, 2015 U.S. Census data.
Along with the obvious growing pains during the past few years, city officials realized that their community needed a venue capable of hosting large events…large events that were bypassing it for cities with larger capacity facilities.
In 2013, the city with assistance from Twin Creek Development hatched a plan to build a premier event center, entering into a public-private partnership with the Nebraska Department of Economic Development (DED) and the Kinseth Hospitality Group, LLC. The plan went from drawing board to construction phase thanks in large part to an award of $1.125 million in Civic and Community Center Financing Funds (CCCFF) from DED in 2014.
Municipalities receiving CCCFF money must own a civic, cultural or convention center for which assistance is sought. The grant amount can be up to 50 percent of the center’s construction, renovation, or expansion costs. A maximum grant amount also is determined by the municipality’s population, and the fund’s balance.
Fast forward to August 11, 2016 when the 18,000-sq.-ft. Beardmore Event Center was officially opened to the public, featuring bright, clean, welcoming space, and offering high-level programmable technology access and quality food options for 750 people. What’s more, the Center is connected to a privately-owned, 120-room, high-end hotel.
While the City owns the Event Center, both facilities are marketed and managed by Kinseth Hospitality.
Located in the Twin Creek Village development, the $8 million event center complimented existing rapid growth in the area, including construction of a 16-screen cinema complex, a restaurant, and a 240—unit multi-family residential housing development.
“The City of Bellevue would like to thank the Nebraska Department of Economic Development for providing their assistance with the Civic and Community Center Financing Fund, said Bellevue Mayor Rita Sanders. “This program was essential for the City of Bellevue to build the new Beardmore Event Center of Bellevue which has already proven to be an asset to our community. Assistant City Administrator Larry Burks took the lead on this project for the City of Bellevue and echo’s my compliments to the DED for taking a chance on the City of Bellevue’s project and the detailed assistance that was provided. This is a great project for our community and we look forward to a variety of celebrations at the Beardmore Event Center of Bellevue for many years to come!” The project also served as a focal point for the City of Bellevue’s Economic Development Certified Community (EDCC) application earlier this year. The city received designation as Nebraska’s 38th EDCC in February 2016.
The Nebraska Diplomats established the program in 2005 to recognize communities for preparedness to attract new industries and grow existing businesses. The City of Bellevue’s participation in this program identifies that the community has a well-defined program that actively engages with its existing business community and offers a supportive environment for welcoming new economic development projects, such as the Beardmore Event Center of Bellevue.