Plattsmouth’s comprehensive plan, adopted in 2004, provided a foundation for what future improvements should look like. The comprehensive plan stated that “downtown Plattsmouth looks a bit worn. Sidewalks need repairs and there is little to no green space. The area as a whole does not have a comfortable feel.” In addition, federal mandates required that Plattsmouth update its downtown sewer system, which included separating its single Combined Sewer Overflow (CSO).
At last in July 2010, construction began on a $4.2 million downtown Plattsmouth Main Street Corridor Improvement Project that includes sanitary and storm sewer separation, replacement of 1800s-era water mains, installation of ornamental energy efficient street lighting, new sidewalks, landscaping, and an outdoor entertainment plaza. Because most of Main Street Plattsmouth is listed on the National Register of Historic Places as a historic district, maintaining its architectural integrity is important to its continued success.
With a sewer separation mandate and a good comprehensive plan, Plattsmouth Mayor R. Paul Lambert, Plattsmouth City Council members, the City’s Main Street Association, and a group of citizens searched for means to finance these improvements. In 2003, voters approved a 1 percent local option sales tax with a 10-year sunset provision. In 2009, voters approved removing the sunset provision and raising the local sales tax an additional .05%…an increase that was restricted to street and sidewalk maintenance and improvements. Sales tax revenue is projected to cover half the project’s cost. U.S. Senator Ben Nelson obtained $1.2 million in federal funds for 55 percent of the sewer separation project. State Revolving Funds (SRF) provided by the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) comprised the remainder of the money required.
Fundamental to the final design was creating a vibrant and pedestrian-friendly downtown that remained true to its architectural heritage. City officials solicited Community Development Block Grant Downtown Revitalization (CDBG DTR) funds from the Nebraska Department of Economic Development (DED). Plans for the funds include a building façade program and a gateway/wayfinding program. Plattsmouth was awarded $350,000 for the project.
According to Erv Portis, Plattsmouth city administrator, “Plattsmouth is proud of its downtown revitalization presently underway. When this project is complete, our downtown will be second to none.”
Portis also thanked the many federal and state partners helping move this project forward, including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, DEQ, Nebraska Department of Roads, Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services, Nebraska State Historic Preservation Office, DED, and U.S. Senator Ben Nelson and his staff.