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Using Lego blocks and a plotted map of Neligh, new homes, parks, apartment buildings, commercial buildings and light industry were built Thursday night at the Neligh Public Library.
About two dozen people attended as Miller and Associates community planners Brenda Jensen and Eric Hellriegel facilitated the third of four town hall meeting as the City of Neligh continues gathering information to form a comprehensive plan that will take the community into 2025.
At the second meeting, areas around Neligh were discussed for future annexation - all of which was to be a possible plan and not necessarily a recommendation to the City of Neligh. Thursday's meeting took the annexation possibilities a step further by looking at future land use potential and zoning.
Looking at a growth scenario, those attending decided to plan for .5 percent growth, taking the population from 1,599 to 1,723 in 2025. Participants were then broken into two groups and planned for 10 acres of single-family housing, one ace of multi-family housing, five acres of recreation, three acres of commercial and two acres of light industry.
The last town hall meeting will be scheduled for September. Content from the town hall meetings, Envision Neligh - an online, interactive forum - and a mail survey will be compiled into the planning document. Surveys were sent to residents in their April utility bills.
Jensen shared general data from the recently returned community surveys. She said 31 percent returned the form to Miller and Associates with 45 percent of those being age 65 and older. More detailed information from the survey will be released at a later date, she said.
Completing the comprehensive plan qualifies Neligh for Leadership Designation by the Nebraska Department of Economic Development, which will allow Neligh to apply for downtown revitalization funding of about $400,000.
Jensen said the timeline for proceeding, which is not concrete, is to have the comprehensive plan done by the end of 2014, apply for Phase I of the grant by March 2015 (planning funds of about $30,000), complete the planning by the end of 2015 and apply for Phase II of the grant by March 2016 (revitalization funds of about $350,000).