FALLS CITY – Southeast Nebraska Development District Community Program Manager Crystal Dunekacke gave the Richardson County Board an annual report Tuesday that highlights objectives in the 15-county area’s economic development strategy.
Dunekacke: “It helps us to know what type of programs would be beneficial and people are interested in. So, as public funding becomes available, whether it’s through grants or other types of services, we know we can help direct that to the people who need it most.”
SENDD is currently the certified community development block grant administrator for two projects in Falls City. The first involves Falls City Foods’ $1.7 million investment into the former Gold Star Sausage plant in the city’s industrial park. A $305,000 economic development grant helped create 20 new jobs.
The second involves the Stone Street streetscape. The downtown revitalization program encourages improvements to 10 downtown buildings and sidewalk improvements on both sides of Stone Street.
Features like decorative handrails, benches and light poles are included.
SENDD’s overall action plan for Richardson County includes support of health care providers, attracting population, rebuilding manufacturing and regional collaborations.
Falls City is also working to revitalize housing stock and reach out to housing developers. There are currently eight houses in the $252,000 CDBG owner-occupied housing program.
Dunekacke: “This is a multiple round that Falls City is undertaking. The one previous to that had eight the one previous to that had seven, as well, so this is an ongoing process that Falls City tries to go through every few years.”
The streetscape project is expected to be complete by the Cobblestone Festival on Aug. 22.