Downtown Revitalization and beautification projects
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, 2018.
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.
Street light globe and bulb replacement
The City of Crete will start the process of replacing globes and lights in decorative street lights in the downtown area in August. The street lights, installed during an improvement project in 1998, have added character and a historic look to the area, however, the globes have yellowed in recent years and the lights are faded.
Replacement polycarbonate globes and 55 watt LED lights will brighten the downtown area and further compliment ongoing updates with downtown properties and facade improvements.
Crete Community Foundation streetscape project
The Crete Community Foundation is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt, non-profit established in 1999 to "strengthen the vitality of the community area through philanthropic endowment of community projects.” The foundation’s board of directors chooses projects which have the opportunity to impact the community as a whole through use of donated funds.
The latest project is a concept familiar to many Crete citizens who experience the Main Street and downtown area on a regular basis: a beautification plan for downtown to compliment facade improvements and other updates happening this year. After researching and gathering examples and information from projects in other communities, the foundation partnered with the City to develop a feasible plan for Crete’s downtown.
The foundation purchased benches and planters, which will be placed along Main Street from about 11th to 14th Streets and for one block east and west from the 13th and Main intersection. With City support, the planning process included creating “bump outs,” or extensions of the curb and sidewalk, along Main Street in specific locations to place benches, planters, and trees. The bump outs will take some parking spaces, however, several areas will have parking stalls redrawn to adequately accommodate vehicles and still maintain proper downtown parking needs.
The foundation and the City are working on a maintenance plan for the new features and are hopeful the project, like many undertaken in similar communities, will succeed with the support of local property owners, citizens and City departments.