Phases of Downtown Revitalization, or DTR, have been in the works for several years and with final approval for Phase II facade improvements at 19 properties, citizens and business owners will see hard work and organization pay off.
In December 2016, the City of Crete was awarded $350,000 in CDBG (Community Development Block Grant) funds to implement a commercial rehabilitation program to revitalize the City’s historic downtown. The City’s matching contribution was approximately $87,500 for a project total of over $430,000 in local grants. Through this program, Crete was among eight communities that received a share of $2,800,000 to complete Phase II (implementation) in the Downtown Revitalization category from the Nebraska Department of Economic Development (DED).
In 2017, the city began contacting businesses in the downtown district about interest in applying for the Phase II implementation program, which awards grant funds equaling a percentage of each individual project’s total cost. The basis of Crete’s Phase II DTR process focuses on facade improvements by removing old awnings and materials in deteriorating condition. Some awnings will be replaced and other properties will receive facade updates. A total of 19 properties were approved for the final list of improvement projects. Old awning removal started the week of May 7 and projects continued through the summer and fall.
The city was previously awarded $30,000 for the DTR Phase I planning process in 2016. A design firm was hired to engage citizens in discussions of strengths and weaknesses in the downtown area, furthering plans for a revitalization process and Phase II application for the latest round of funding.