In 2009, Plattsmouth sought and received designation as an Economic Development Certified Community through DED. This involved demonstrating economic readiness and, overall, recognizes the community as a leader in economic development.
Furthermore, it prepared Plattsmouth for its 2014 CDBG Downtown Revitalization project, a catalyst project to begin addressing multiple issues in the downtown through the rehabilitation of 14 commercial buildings in the Plattsmouth Main Street Historic District.
Ultimately, the CDBG project facilitated the renovation of upper stories in Downtown Plattsmouth. These community-driven improvements served as a direct impetus for the development of a Plattsmouth OneWorld Community Health Center physician’s clinic and satellite learning facility, and the Southeast Community College Plattsmouth Learning Center.
Prior to the DTR project, eight of forty-eight downtown commercial buildings were vacant. Today, there are no vacancies. The project included $300,000 in CDBG funds and $108,667 in matching funds from property owners and the City of Plattsmouth. Two properties were improved, including the new Plattsmouth Learning Center. New CDBG funding is slated to assist two additional properties over the next six months. With this new round of funding, Plattsmouth property owners are now making progress on over $500,000 of additional improvements that include façade restoration, upper story offices and housing, code compliance, and other repairs to continue strengthening the downtown economy.
The establishment of the Life Safety Incentive Program for building owners helped address the greatest financial challenge to the use of upper stories in downtown buildings and the cost of complying with life, health, and safety codes such as electrical and plumbing. For a community that suffered the tragic loss of the Waterman Building to fire in 2014, the importance of safe electrical and fire suppression systems is paramount.
The local program offers financial assistance to a property owner for compliance with Fire Code (i.e. fire separation barriers, dedicated water lines for fire suppression, and sprinkler systems, etc.), compliance with Building Codes such as electrical service improvements, as well as structural and façade improvements. The project has allowed for new windows, doors, HVAC, and electrical and fire suppression equipment in two downtown buildings. Additionally, the program incentivizes an increase to downtown second story housing. With already fourteen buildings in their historic district rehabilitated, zero vacant buildings, and new restorations underway, the future for Plattsmouth’s historic downtown looks bright.