Earlier this year, the city of Beatrice was awarded a Community Development Block Grant for our Downtown Revitalization Phase II. Phase I was to conduct a study of the downtown area and Phase II is to implement part of that study.

In Phase II, the city of Beatrice was awarded $350,000 from the Department of Economic Development. Of those funds, $10,000 will go to administrative costs incurred by the city of Beatrice, and $340,000 will go to properties in the downtown as part of our Façade Improvement Program.

The Façade Improvement Program, adopted by the city of Beatrice, includes a number of eligible activities, including but not limited to, rehabilitation of sidewalks, building facades, and building structural components.

Recently the application deadline for property owners wishing to partake in this program passed. The city received 27 applications requesting over $760,000. Clearly, the city of Beatrice cannot fund all of the applications they received, therefore there must be some type of selection process.

The first step in the selection process is for the Downtown Revitalization Committee to review each of the applications.

This committee will review the applications to ensure that the State Historical Preservation Office is satisfied with the proposed alterations for repairs and that the Community Development Block Grant environmental reviews are completed.

Once the committee is completed with all of their reviews, they will make their recommendation to the Beatrice City Council.

The city council will then have an opportunity to review the applications and ultimately select which applications are awarded grant funds. Once awarded, the applicant will have approximately 13 months to complete all of the work and submit all of the proper documentation in order to be reimbursed. Once the work is completed and the documents are filed, the city of Beatrice will then request funds from the State of Nebraska and reimburse the property owners.

The first time the city received these Community Development Block Grant funds, improvements were made along Fifth Street between Court Street and Ella Street. This time the goal is to make significant improvements to the façade in the downtown area.