Gering council OKs applying again for downtown revitalization planning grant

The Gering city council Monday night approved applying for a second time for a $30,000 planning grant for downtown redevelopment.

Gering was not selected the first time for a economic development grant through the Nebraska Department of Economic Development because it did not make the cut in the competitive scoring process . This time they are applying for a community development block grant that Rick Willis with Twin Cities Development says involves a different pool of funds that is not as competitive and will give them a better chance of being successful.

Willis says this application more heavily involved downtown stakeholders, who want to see planning and implementation money used to recruit more retail outlets and restaurants downtown... and improve building facades and infrastructure.

The application will be submitted for the October 19th cycle. The initial $30,000 grant is needed so a consultant can put together a plan to hopefully gain an implementation grant of an undetermined amount for Gering's downtown businesses.

In other business, the council awarded Paul Reed of Gering the bid for construction of the final cell at the current Gering landfill. Landfill Director Rick Hurt said Reed's bid of nearly $1.5 million was the only one that met specifications from the five that were submitted.

The council also postponed taking action on a new operator at the Gering Golf Course restaurant when Natasha Formby had two pages of questions and amendments to the city's proposed contract. Jill McFarland, chair of the council's administrative committee, believes the contractual situation can be resolved in the next two weeks. But she questions whether the restaurant will be open after the end of this month when the current contract with Rich and Michael Klein expires, partly because of the time it will take to get a new liquor license approved by the state.

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