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A Beatrice group was recently announced as the recipient of an economic development award.

On Wednesday, Congressman Adrian Smith announced the winners of the 2018 Third District Excellence in Economic Development Awards.

The awards honor eleven individuals and businesses helping to strengthen Nebraska communities through innovation, hard work, entrepreneurship, and historic preservation.

One group recognized for their efforts was Main Street Beatrice.

“I’m proud to announce the winners of our 2018 Excellence in Economic Development Awards who have done so much to expand opportunity in Nebraska,” Smith said in a press release. “Tax reform and deregulation are improving the conditions necessary for robust economic growth and I’m excited to see their benefits improving the lives of all Americans.”

Main Street Beatrice director Michael Sothan said he was pleased Main Street was selected for its preservation efforts, and added property owners and the city have also been major contributors to keeping the downtown area nice.

“It’s of those nice little honors to be recognized,” he said. “I know the category was around preservation and it’s definitely nice to see those things being recognized they’re aspects of economic development that are seemingly overlooked.”

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Sothan added that preserving and beautifying downtown is a key factor in economic development because it’s the first place many people look when considering a town for a business or home.

“When people are looking at the health of a community a lot of times they look at downtown,” he said. “If your downtown is looking tired and down on its luck it’s hard to move forward throughout the rest of the community and attract people here. One thing that makes our downtown special and unique is that unique character.”

According to a press release from Adrian Smith’s office, Main Street Beatrice was formed in 1996 when officials worked to include Beatrice in the Nebraska Lied Main Street program and the Certified National Main Street program.

Main Street Beatrice provides guidance and resources to downtown businesses, building owners, and others by utilizing the National Main Street Program approach.

Together with the National Trust for Historic Preservation and the Nebraska State Historical Society, Main Street Beatrice has been a leader in advocating for and sharing the message of the importance of utilizing available resources for historic preservation through training, awareness events, and community outreach.

Beatrice was recognized by the National Register of Historic Places in 2016.

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Reach Scott Koperski at scott.koperski@beatricedailysun.com. Follow him on Twitter @ScottKoperski.

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