Posted 2 years ago

By Post Staff

Chadron downtownThe Nebraska Department of Economic Development has awarded $106,300 in Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) planning funds to five communities, including Gering and Chadron.

Gering is getting $30,000 and Chadron $23,500 in matching funds develop strategic plans for downtown revitalization projects by developing strategic plans.

Nebraska Northwest Development Corporation executive director and Chadron Revitalization Committee member Deb Cottier says once the plans are done, a second round of funding for implementation is available.

“What we hope this allows us to do is develop a well thought-out plan that allows us to apply for up to $300,000 in implementation funds to allow businesses to match those funds and do some target improvements downtown.”

Cottier says the planning process being funded by the DED grant will include both revitalization specialists and public input.

“It allows us to retain someone to do some professional planning while also getting ideas and impressions from people who live here and work here and have businesses here or perhaps want to start a business here as to how to make our downtown better.”

The revitalization plan fits with or culminates 3 major Chadron efforts: designation as a Certified Economic Development Community…a requirement for the grant…adoption of a blighted or redevelopment area map, and placement of the central business district on the National Register of Historic Places.

Cottier says that just as each of those didn’t happen right away, creation and implementation of the strategic plan will take time.

“It will be a 2-3 year process in its entirety, and this is the first phase…this is the planning phase where the state has determined that what we do has merit and has awarded us the grant.

Chadron won its planning grant on the first try, while Gering wasn’t successful until the third. Twin Cities Development Executive Director Rawnda Pierce says Gering merchants were more active in all phases of the application process this time, and she believes that grass roots involvement made the difference.

The other 3 communities getting the planning grants are Cozad, Gothenburg and Madison. Cozad and Gothenburg each receive $11,400 and Madison $30,000.