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Neligh’s downtown is about to receive a facelift thanks in part to a $350,000 grant, and several organizations are helping the community retain its historical appreciation for its older buildings.
Neligh’s Old Mill District is a proposed National Register Historic District, and the Nebraska Main Street Network is helping local businesses with fascade ideas for improvements that enhance the historical attributes.
Elizabeth Chase and Greg Munn spent Friday in Neligh studying buildings and gathering old photographs with the help of the Antelope County Museum.
“These case studies are an educational piece now and will give the community a tool for later as they watch these buildings improve,” Chase said.
The Main Street Approach, Chase said, is economic vitality, design, promotion and organization. She said it’s important to have a comprehensive strategy that includes the economic, social and physical components of your downtown.
Chase encourages fixing things on a small scale and letting the small projects lead into larger projects. That becomes less resource intensive but has a tangible impact.
Friday’s tour, which included Neligh’s economic development leaders Greg Ptacek, Gabe Steinmeyer and Lauren Sheridan-Simonsen, viewed many buildings on Main Street that may see improvements in the next couple of years.
With funding assistance available, Chase said now is the time for owners to rehabilitate their buildings. It’s also a great time for people to buy some of the empty buildings on Main Street and turn them into storefronts, she said.
“Your business image is your billboard,” she said. “Your building is your way of telling people what you do. We want to help Neligh businesses historically rehabilitate these downtown buildings.”