BEATRICE – A redevelopment plan for downtown Beatrice has gained approval of the Beatrice City Council. A next step is to make formal application for $375,000 in community development block grant funding from the state, to put it in motion.
Key components of the plan include a building façade program, new business recruitment and infrastructure work. The details of the façade program will now be formulated. The city worked with Hanna: Keelan Associates and Schemmer Associates on the first phase of the project. City Councilman Rick Clabaugh was one of the steering committee members helping set priorities for the downtown, following a public and business survey process.
:33 “a kick start”
This year, a major part of the downtown area was named a National Historic District, making it eligible for state and federal tax credits for redevelopment. The façade program will include an expanded area of the downtown. Architect Pat Birch of Schemmer and Associates Architects says some buildings are in need of a facelift.
:27 “the downtown”
Councilman Ted Fairbanks says he’s interested in how the city successfully gets from point A, to point B in the redevelopment plan, noting that businesses in the past were reluctant to undertake improvement projects.
Lonnie Dickson of Hanna: Keelan Associates says one way is getting help from local organizations such as Main Street Beatrice and the Community Redevelopment Authority to push available incentives.
:26 “and property owners”
The downtown area is already eligible for tax increment financing for infrastructure work, having been designated several years ago as blighted and substandard, by the city.