Falls City Builds to Expand Tourism, Spur Economic Growth

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Falls City Builds to Expand Tourism, Spur Economic Growth

Communities like historic buildings because of the character and distinction they add to their downtowns. However, maintaining older structures and keeping them occupied can be quite a challenge; and this is the predicament that residents of Falls City (pop. 4,325) found themselves. The Grand Weaver Hotel was built in 1924 and has since served as a focal point of the downtown’s charm and character. In recent years it became clear to the current owner and city leaders that a renovation was necessary for the grand hotel to keep its allure and historic appeal.

While determining ways to fund this project, the Grand Weaver Hotel business owner, Mitch Glaeser, collaborated with Falls City Economic Development and Growth Enterprise (EDGE) to apply for a Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) through Nebraska Department of Economic Development’s (DED) CDBG Tourism Development Program.

In 2008, Governor Dave Heineman and DED awarded Falls City $200,000 in CDBG funding. Other funding for the project included private investment dollars and local economic development funds.

In addition to helping with the historic renovation of the Grand Weaver Hotel and support job creation, the CDBG funding most notably assisted with solving accessibility issues including the installation of an elevator and meeting Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requirements. Twenty-five hundred local residents are benefiting from the project which includes low-to-moderate income clientele of 1,275 beneficiaries. In addition, the renovation of the historic Grand Weaver Hotel has created lodging to meet the needs of cultivated travelers and business representatives. The boutique-style rooms each have their own personality with beautiful decor, and the original doors and phones, all the makings for an enchanting stay. The newly renovated hotel has already become a catalyst for rehabilitation of other businesses and future development in the district.

CDBG funding support continues in Falls City’s redevelopment. The city is currently in the midst of a major downtown revitalization plan utilizing CDBG funds, which will help transform Falls City into a shopping and activity destination. CDBG funds have also recently been used for business expansion and retention and renovating local housing stock.