LINCOLN, NEB.- June 11, 2009 – (RealEstateRama) – The Nebraska Department of Economic Development has awarded a total $23,250 in Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding to Geneva and South Sioux City to wrap up the Phase I Planning portion of their downtown revitalization projects.
Geneva is using its $19,500 to review an existing blight designation, expand its existing redevelopment plan, and identify priority public and private projects for future development. Geneva’s downtown district originated more than 120 years ago, and aged structures, deteriorated building components, and outdated and/or undersized public infrastructure have been identified as conditions that endanger property or life within the downtown district. For more than 20 years, the city has aggressively worked to maintain the community to ensure the safety and well-being of its citizens. In 1989, a comprehensive downtown improvement project resulted in new water mains, curbing and gutters, sidewalks and corner nodes for five downtown blocks. In 2005, two new water wells were installed and in 2006, a new SBR wastewater treatment facility was completed. This past March, the city council authorized initiation of a “hot spot” for the downtown area. CDBG reuse funds are available to retail businesses and manufacturers, and the Local Option Sales Tax passed in 2004 allocates 33.33 percent of proceeds for economic development. The city will contribute 6,000 to the project.
South Sioux City is using its $3,750 to draw up a plan for demolishing or refurbishing existing properties along the highly visible Dakota Avenue corridor, in addition to seeking complimentary businesses to locate along here. South Sioux City’s downtown is a strip commercial area with inadequate off street parking, old buildings, vacant properties and high traffic volume. The 26-block area along Dakota Avenue from 39th Street to the Missouri River records 37,000 cars daily north of 9th Street, and 18,000 cars daily south of 9th Street. Completion of a slum and blight study of the area reported 17 vacant structures and existing buildings marking an average of 55 years. A 2007 Community Attitude Survey revealed that more than 55 percent of residents didn’t feel safe walking along the avenue due to need for better lighting and structural improvements to aging buildings. The city already has enacted positive change in conjunction with the South Sioux City Community Development Agency, including tearing down some dilapidated buildings, establishing a façade loan program, and making safety improvements for pedestrian crossing, among others. The city will contribute $1,250 to the project.
Funding for this Phase I Project Implementation is drawn from the Department’s CDBG Economic Development Category.
The CDBG Downtown Revitalization Category is open to incorporated Nebraska Municipalities of populations 20,000 or less, having earned designations as Economic Development Certified Communities, and having already adopted comprehensive plans, zoning and subdivision ordinances, building codes, code enforcement, and building permit processes.
patty.wood (at) nebraska (dot) gov