Settled between farmlands, the City of Geneva (pop. 2,226) serves as a regional hub for business, entertainment, and recreation. The City’s historic main street and beautifully landscaped county courthouse square make up the downtown area that recently received a well-deserved upgrade.
In June 2009, the City was awarded funding from the Community Development Block Grant (CBDG) Downtown Revitalization Program for the planning and implementation of a revitalization project. The planning portion came in Phase I, while the implementation came in Phase II.
Geneva received $19,500 towards completing a downtown plan during Phase I. There were several visioning sessions with the public to identify and prioritize the needs of the downtown area, resulting in a ten-phase master plan for improving public and private properties. The plan also included a primary transportation corridor to include gateways and streetscapes to prevent and eliminate substandard conditions in the downtown.
The Phase II CDBG funding was awarded in March of 2010 in the amount of $350,000. Phase II activities included downtown lighting and façade improvements. Geneva awarded portions of their CDBG funds to 16 property owners so they could purchase and install awnings for their buildings. The lighting project included the removal and replacement of new conduits for downtown lighting.
The combined efforts of Revitalize Geneva, Fillmore County, Geneva State Bank, Southeast Nebraska Development District, the local business community, and CDBG funding has made a significant impact on the overall aesthetic appeal while making the downtown area a safer place and encouraging economic growth.
Residents and visitors of Geneva feel welcomed and safe in Geneva’s reinvigorated downtown district. The changes made during this planned project created a positive butterfly affect by inspiring other downtown business owners to make additional improvements to their respective building façades.