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Shops relocate; site nearly ready for hotel
December 24, 2015 Jerry Purvis   

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J&L Laundromat may be getting a clean start, so to speak.

The Gering City Council met during a special noon meeting on Dec. 18 to consider a funding recommendation in assisting a move by J&L Laundromat, also known as the Gering Laundromat.

For 14 years, owners Mark and Marilyn Simmons have operated the laundromat on east M Street. Two years ago, developers chose the property, near the corner of 10th and M streets, as a potential location for a hotel.

Since then, the city has been negotiating with the couple to relocate their business. The proposed location on Kimball Avenue and J Street is the site of a former trailer park on the south end of the downtown area.

The agreement was brought up at Friday’s special meeting, but incomplete changes in the legal language made it necessary to postpone the vote until the first meeting in January.

Brent Holliday of the LB 840 committee spoke to the application. The LB 840 funding from sales tax is used by the city for economic development projects.

“The committee had a lot of discussion over this application,” Holliday told the council. “We’re recommending a $50,000 grant that’s forgivable at $20,000 per year for the next five years.”

Council members voted unanimously to accept the committee’s recommendation and will finalize the proposal next month.

The Gering Laundromat wasn’t the only downtown business affected by the project to build a hotel at 10th and M Streets. Prairie Pines Quilt Shop, open in Gering since 2005, also needed to be relocated.

Betty Steinwart, one of the owners, said they’re just about finished moving into a building at 1207 10th Street, Suite 102. The public can find them in the Fresh Foods building, immediately east of Elite Physical Therapy and Wellness.

“We’re open for business and people have been complimenting us on the new space and how bright it is,” she said. “It’s about the same amount of space as our old building, but this is all in one room. So, it looks bigger.”

Steinwart said she and co-owner Darlene Tagler plan to host an official open house and grand reopening sometime early next year. Currently, the exterior sign only says “Quilt Shop,” but one with the shop’s traditional design will be installed soon.

The quilt shop has become a destination stop in the quilting community. This past summer, a June to September nationwide tour event brought needle and thread experts from 28 different states to Gering. Quilters also came from Canada, the Netherlands and other foreign countries.
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