Posted 2 years ago

By Post Staff

Morford's DecoratingThe Chadron City Council this week approved a pair of $100,000 economic development loans for two projects on the old Bomgaar’s property just off Highway 26 at West 6th Street…one for a business coming to town and the other for a long-established local business to move into larger, more convenient quarters.

The loan to  Morford’s Decorating is from the city’s LB-840 half-cent sales tax and will be used to buy and move into the former Bomgaar’s store while the Dawes Development Group loan is from a reuse fund for a new Hibbett’s Sporting Goods on the western edge of the old Bomgaar’s property. Both loans would be at prime interest rate…currently 3.25%.

Hibbett Sports Morford’s is now downtown on 3rd Street between Main and Chadron Avenue. Merle Morford says the Bomgaar’s building just off Highway 385 on West 6th Street is much larger…nearly 10,000-square feet…giving him a chance to expand.

“The expansion and the opportunity to provide more goods and services for our community were probably first and foremost” the reasons for the move, according to Morford…who expects to added several additional employees at the larger store.

The current location has limited on-street parking and a city parking lot in back, which makes deliveries of flooring and other items a bit tricky. Morford says both problems will be eliminated at the old Bomgaar’s site.

“The accessibility out there is very good. We’ll have more parking…in and out…as far as customers are concerned, and we’re here for the good of the community.”

Morford hopes to be moved in by July. His financing package includes $75,000 from the company, a $275,000 loan from First National Bank of North Platte, and the 10-year $100,000 LB-840 loan…which would also be through the bank

The loan was approved on a 4-1 council vote, with Dr John Gamby the dissenter. Gamby praised the Morfords for their community involvement, but said the city should not be in the banking business…making a tongue-in-cheek offer at one point to co-sign a bank loan with Morford and put his own land up as collateral.

The loan for the sporting goods store passed 3-2, with Levi Grant joining Gamby in voting no. Grant had said during the debate on the Morford loan that “it was wonderful” the money was going to an existing local business instead of an out-of-town one…and expressed the same feeling in voting against the second loan.

Dawes Development Group is the 3 Wisconsin businessmen who two years ago built the maurice’s ladies clothing store at the junction of Highways 20 and 385. Their loan comes from repayments made by companies that received Community Development Block Grants through the city.

That loan reuse fund…currently about $126,000…must issue at least one loan every 24 months or the money reverts to the state. Chadron is actually over the time limit, but was granted an extension when the Dawes Development-Hibbetts project began to come together last year.

The cost of the project for the 5,000-square foot building paralleling Highway 385 is $520,000 and they’re putting up $100,000 to go along with a $320,000 loan from First National-North Platte, which is also handling the $100,00 loan from the city.

Chadron building/zoning official Janet Johnson says Dawes Development has an ambitious timetable for the building, shooting to have it opened by July 1st.