Downtown districts represent the heart of any small community. They serve as economic hubs, gathering places for family and friends, and are often referred to travelers as a must-see part of town. Lexington, Neb. (pop. 10,257)recognized this potential for their downtown and put in the time and effort to ensure a quality experience for any downtown traffic. With the help of the Nebraska Department of Economic Development (DED), a plan was formulated to strengthen the business atmosphere, improve and rehabilitate facilities, and reduce any existing slum and blight conditions.
In August 2010, Lexington was awarded $28,500 in Community Development Block Grant funding from the DED to accommodate the planning phase of the process. After Phase I had been completed, a study took place to analyze the condition of the downtown. Lexington entered the second phase of the Downtown Revitalization process in 2011. During this phase, the community was awarded $350,000 for downtown improvements related to commercial building rehabilitation, and removal of architectural barriers, streets, and public facilities. Additional funding was provided by RDG Planning and Design, Lexington City Council and Administration, Dawson Area Development, Main
Overall, 20 businesses were assisted with façade renovations and energy improvements. General aesthetic improvements also contributed to the downtown atmosphere. Numbers show that significant gains were made as a result of the physical and economic improvements of downtown Lexington.
Deb Jensen from Dawson Area Development:
“Lexington aggressively began helping downtown business and building owners about 11 to 12 years ago with the implementation of the Main Street program. There remained more to accomplish, but inadequate funding to do so. With the help of the CDBG DTR grant, local business monies, City of Lexington funds, and Main Street Funds, this project was a success!”