Civic vision and plain hard work can make for an impressive combination in strengthening Nebraska communities. The Nebraska Main Street program, in place since 1994, encourages and supports such community improvement. The organization has announced awards for 2017-18 saluting outstanding achievement in 10 categories.
Award categories included notable volunteers, businesses, streetscape projects, facade improvements and business recruitment and retention. Individuals or institutions from Wayne, Plattsmouth, Beatrice, Grand Island and Tekamah received a salute.
The Main Street program, with 19 participating communities across Nebraska, applauded three communities for achieving 1,000-plus volunteer hours over the course of the year: Plattsmouth, 3,014 volunteer hours; Grand Island, 1,736 volunteer hours; and Beatrice, 1,655 volunteer hours.
The program has accredited six communities to note a particularly strong level of activity: Beatrice, Falls City, Fremont, Grand Island, Plattsmouth and Wayne.
The World-Herald’s Paul Hammel has highlighted one of this year’s award winners: the Chatterbox Brews restaurant and bar in Tekamah, for adaptive reuse of a historic building.
“The expansive eatery is filled with wood repurposed from an aging corn crib that was torn down on the Chatt family farm,” Hammel wrote. “The wood became tables and the Chatterbox’s indoor and outdoor bars. The wood was also used as paneling. Beams were exposed, and numerous windows allow plenty of natural light.” The restaurant is the brainchild of Britney Hansen and Cindy Chatt.
Several of this year’s awards saluted an ambitious and impressive initiative in Grand Island: the Railside project that’s boosting the appearance and economic vitality of a large downtown area. Highlights include Railside Plaza, an impressive public space; encouragement of new residential opportunities; historic streetlights; and bike racks that also provide a public art function.
Among the other awards were salutes to Wayne for public-private collaboration, volunteerism and business involvement; Plattsmouth for facade improvement, volunteerism, interior residential improvement, historical rehab and business initiative; and Beatrice for business vision, volunteerism, fundraising and streetscapes.
It’s encouraging to see Nebraska communities pursuing civic improvement with such focused energy and attention.