Like many small towns throughout Nebraska, Oakland (pop. 1,297) finally had to face its aging infrastructure problem head on. To combat the problem, the city had always issued a bond at a time to repair one street at a time, which proved slow and problematic in terms of making timely improvements.
The city was ready to investigate other avenues that would help it more quickly complete the work. Officials conducted a survey that revealed the city met qualifications to apply for a Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) based on the number of low- and moderate-income wage earners residing in Oakland. As a result, the city applied for and received $126,500 CDBG funding, combining it with another approved bond to complete a widening project along Fulton Street.
Before the project could move forward, however, a culvert had to be extended to improve drainage. Members of the city council, the clerk/treasurer, and project engineers partnered to accomplish the work. As a result, residents and out-of-town visitors alike are finding it easier to access the city park, golf course, Burt County fairgrounds and western portion of Oakland. Sidewalks are wider and handicap accessible, snow removal is handled with greater ease, and citizens experience much less wear and tear on their vehicles.
Since the project’s completion, people along Fulton Street are sprucing up the exteriors of their homes and yards, in addition to the area adjacent to the street. The city came together to achieve the goal of street improvements, reaping the added benefit of an overall tidier city. Oakland has taken major steps to improve its infrastructure and overall look.