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Developer chooses site for hotel
March 28, 2014 Jerry Purvis   

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During a meeting of the Gering Public Works Committee last week, City Administrator Lane Danielzuk announced the two developers of a proposed downtown hotel have decided on a site on the northeast corner of 10th and M Streets, known as the McKee property.

The announcement came after committee member Justin Allred asked whether design proposals for downtown redevelopment could also apply to the new hotel. But Danielzuk said the projects were separate and the hotel wouldn’t be tied to the design concept for the downtown area.

“The two corporations that will put the hotel together have decided on that half block location,” he said. “There will be a memorandum of understanding signed shortly, then the corporations will come to us with the redevelopment agreement.”

The developers and the city are currently negotiating with business owners in that area to obtain the property.

The purpose of the committee meeting was to discuss the downtown revitalization plan submitted by the consulting firm of Short Elliott Hendrickson/Danth. Consultant Andrew Dane went through some of the report’s recommendations.

One of the major points was to consider reducing the four lanes of 10th Street to three lanes through the downtown area. Another was to preserve and rehabilitate the historic appearance of the downtown buildings, such as the Fraternity Building.

The report also recommended developing some design guidelines for the downtown area, to include landscaping and building facades.

Another idea was to create “pocket parks” in the county courthouse area where people can congregate. However, because the city doesn’t own the property around the courthouse, any potential improvements would have to be done jointly with Scotts Bluff County.

A strong recommendation from the report is to consider a strong, vertical art piece, such as a sculpture, in the area of 10th and M Streets to grab travelers’ attention they’re entering the downtown area.

At the last city council meeting, members authorized the city to submit a $350,000 implementation grant to the Nebraska Department of Economic Development to help fund the revitalization project.

Public Works Committee Chairman Larry Gibbs said that in the meantime, the city will do what it can to implement some of the recommendations while awaiting potential state funding.
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