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By now you may have heard about a few changes we made here in the Building Inspections Department…I mean Community Development Department. Back in April the City of Beatrice renamed our department to be more inclusive of all of the things we do here in this office. With the name change to our department we felt it would be a good time to promote more community pride.

First the name change. While I’ve heard a few negative comments about why we changed the name of our department, those statements could not be more inaccurate. The simple fact about the name change of our department was to be more inclusive of all of the services we provide the City of Beatrice to help positively develop our city.

What services do you provide? I’m glad you asked. Our department primarily oversees three areas of community development: 1.) Building Codes/Inspections, 2.) Planning and Zoning, and 3.) Code Compliance.

A brief summary of each of these areas could be said like this: Building Codes are in place to protect public health, safety, and general welfare as they relate to construction and occupancy of buildings and structures. Planning and Zoning rules are in place to separate the uses that are thought to be compatible. Zoning is used to prevent new development from interfering with existing uses or to preserve the character of our community. Lastly, Code Compliance is the process of enforcing city codes to ensure our community’s public health, safety, and welfare as it relates to properties, neighborhoods, land-use, and overall community sanitation and aesthetics.

Prior to changing the name of our department, we had been working on a plan to promote more positivity in our community, this plan ultimately took on the name of the “Community Pride Initiative”. As part of our Community Pride Initiative we started our “Community Pride Award”. We present this award every week to two recipients who display outstanding property maintenance. In order to receive the award, the recipients agree to let us post a sign in their yard, take some photos, and post the photos and their information on our social media pages (Facebook and Twitter). One thing I always like to tell people when we talk about the award is, it’s not just about how nice their yards look, it’s about the entire property maintenance. For us the property maintenance means doing a little touch-up painting, repair/replace/remove dilapidated fences or structures, removing piles of brush, removing junked vehicles, and just having an overall clean and welcoming property. One of the complaints I’ve heard was that the award “only goes to rich people”. That statement could not be less true. Pride does not have a monetary value. Pride is defined as, “a feeling or satisfaction derived from one’s own achievements”.

In addition to our Community Pride Award, we have developed our “Mow-to-Own” program. This allows citizens to obtain City owned residential lots for basically the cost of maintaining them for a period of time. So far, we have had a positive response, as we’ve received a number of applications for the available lots. We are currently in the process of reviewing these applications and look forward to this program in the years to come.

Our Community Pride Initiative does not stop there. We are in the process of developing additional programs to give citizens the opportunity to improve our overall community, so be on the lookout for additional programs where you could show your community pride and see what opportunities exist for being a great neighbor.

Lastly, I want to say that our Community Pride Initiative is not to suggest that we have no community pride, it’s to try and achieve 100% of our population to obtain Community Pride…a feeling or satisfaction derived from our own achievements.

If you would like to know more about building codes, planning and zoning, code compliance, or our Community Pride Initiative, we can be contacted in the City Auditorium at 205 North 4th Street, (402) 228-5250, or community@beatrice.ne.gov.

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