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Council approves redevelopment plan
March 28, 2013 Jerry Purvis   

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During their Monday meeting, members of the Gering City Council agreed to reapply for a $30,000 planning grant for downtown redevelopment.

The grant application was developed from input from merchants and the Downtown Redevelopment Committee with assistance from Rick Willis, marketing and research manager with Twin Cities Development.
Willis told the council the Nebraska Department of Economic Development turned down the first application because they wanted more input from the community as to what they see for the future development of downtown and beyond.

“Input from the community was wonderful for this second try,” he said. “We made quite a few refinements to the application because of that input.”

After several meetings with business owners, citizens of the town and members of the Gering Downtown Redevelopment Committee, overall goals were put in writing. They included “create a business environment that promotes growth in the retail and service industries” and “infrastructure and structural improvements to the downtown business district.”

TCD executive director Rawnda Pierce said after the first application was rejected, the state wanted to Continued from page A1
know what specific items the city would ask a consultant to consider if a full implementation grant were awarded. Input from the community was distilled into a few tangible goals and objectives that could be acted upon.

Council member Don Christensen attended some of those meetings and said he was impressed with the hard work from all involved to keep the project moving forward. And Mayor Ed Mayo added this application had a lot more community buy-in.

“We want this to be a catalyst for future growth,” Willis said. “If our application is approved, we need to focus not only on downtown revitalization, but also on what goes after that. No matter what happens, we need to plan for what we want in downtown Gering. I think that’s what the committee has done and it’s a good application.”

Lisa Betz, a member of the Gering Downtown Redevelopment Committee, thanked TCD for their help and said the application process hasn’t always been easy. “I think we have a very good group on the committee as we’ve focused on the same goals. I feel hopeful and optimistic this grant application will be successful.”

Council members unanimously approved the application, which must be submitted to the Department of Economic Development by March 29.
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