Towns across the nation are always striving for a higher standard of living for the people in their community. This effort does not go unnoticed, which is the reason for National Community Development Week, where communities are recognized for everything they do to better themselves.
In Nebraska, recognition comes in the form of the annual Showcase Community Award, which goes to the community that has demonstrated best efforts and accomplishments during a five-year period, with a primary focus on CDBG projects. In 2015, the award went to Lexington, Nebraska (pop. 10,230). Lexington exhibited a dedication to growth and a better future through an approach that embraced forward thinking.
Lexington focused its development efforts mainly on the downtown. One revitalization project involved the Majestic Theatre. The city was awarded $225,000 in CDBG Tourism Development funds in 2013 to undertake the extensive renovation project. Through boundless fund raising by students and residents, an additional $700,000 went toward the renovations. The plan to unveil the “new” Majestic Theatre during its 100th anniversary celebration in the spring of 2015, went off without a hitch.
Along the same line as the theatre renovation, downtown districts bring life to communities, which is why Lexington began a downtown revitalization project in 2009 to assist 20 businesses. Along with $350,000 in CDBG funding, the community raised $466,000 in matching funds and investments. Multiple organizations, including RDG Planning and Design, Lexington City Council and Administration, Dawson Area Development, Main Street Lexington, Lexington Community Foundation, and other local businesses committed time and effort to this revitalization.
Another significant project for Lexington was construction of the Lexington Fieldhouse activity and recreation center completed in October 2015. Supported with the Civic Community Financing funding from DED, the new Fieldhouse will be a beehive of activity, hosting year round sporting events.
Numerous non-CDBG related projects were undertaken in Lexington, as well, including the New Neighborhoods Initiative that led to the development of 12 single-family rentals, eight senior owner-occupied units, and six single-family owner-occupied units. Two more single-family owner-occupied units are under construction and seven additional build-ready lots are pending development.
Lexington has not only helped grow and develop its own community, but has also helped surrounding communities including Cozad and Gothenburg. Congratulations are well-deserved for Lexington, which has demonstrated the ability to bring the entire community together to not only improve standards, but reignite a passion and pride for hometown living.