M and 10th street development catalyst for Gering downtown revitalization

Development of the M and 10th street intersection where local and tourist traffic converge continues to be the key to revitalizing downtown Gering, according to planners who presented their final report to the city council Monday evening. The plan will be tweaked over the next week or two before it is submitted to the state in an effort to gain a $350,000 implementation grant to begin the process.

Andrew Dane, project manager for Short Elliott Hendrickson, said the east parking lot of the Civic center or the property across the block to the east is perfect for a hotel with two or three retail spaces on the ground floor. Dane says it would be a "striking feature" that would help the intersection be the anchor for other needed improvements. Dane said there is a need for one or two sit-down restaurants and he suggested retail additions such as a home furnishing store, a general food outlet to highlight locally produced food and a women's clothing outlet.

Dane says large signage as travelers approach the intersection needs to be developed so travelers coming up Highway 92 have a visual reason to stop, shop, eat and possibly stay.

He also believes the area around the courthouse is perfect for outside dining, possibly a deli, along with "pocket parks", and developed shaded areas that would be attractive to downtown office workers and tourists.

He says the interest in developing the hotel and retail spaces at the 10th and M Street intersection will be a catalyst for other development, maintaining there should be successes in the first three years that would drive future improvements along the entire corridor.

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