City of Grand Island and Downtown Railside receive honors
Contact: Wendy Meyer-Schmidt, Public Information Officer
Work Phone: 308.385.5444 ext.148
Cell Phone: 308.391.0961
Release Date: March 13, 2017—Immediate
City of Grand Island and Downtown receive honors
GRAND ISLAND, Neb.— The City of Grand Island and the Downtown Improvement Board were awarded the “Implementation” award from American Planning Association Nebraska Chapter during the Nebraska Planning and Zoning Association (NPZA) annual conference in Kearney held March 8-10.
The award recognizes an effort that demonstrates a significant achievement for an area in accomplishing positive changes as a result of planning and has long-term, measurable results.
The City of Grand Island and the Downtown Improvement Board were honored for efforts in transforming downtown into “Railside” as part of implementing the 2013 Grand Island Downtown Redevelopment Study that was prepared by Alley-Poyner Macchietto Architecture of Omaha and Marvin Planning Consultants of David City.
Some of the many accomplishments include:
-The start of four downtown apartment projects at Tower 217, Wing Properties, Temple Lofts, and the Hedde Building.
-The city’s creation of a Life Safety Program to assist with upper-level development and fire safety in historic buildings.
-A rebranding of the downtown as “Railside” as seen on parking lot signs, gateway signs and banners.
-The redevelopment of the former Kaufmann Park to the new Railside Plaza, which serves as a community gathering space for the new Hear Grand Island concerts, Railside Christmas, and Third Thursday events.
-The upgrade of downtown infrastructure, including larger water lines to support fire sprinkling systems and $321,000 of historic downtown lighting to add ambience to the district.
-A façade program aiding the restoration of the fronts of numerous downtown businesses.
-Creation of a destination district for new businesses such as Prairie Pride Brewery, GIX Logistics, Prodigy No. 5, Performance Plus Outdoors, the Happy Brush, Helium, Kindred, and McKinney’s Irish Pub.
“Plans are always a good thing. They provide direction and goals,” said Regional Planning Director Chad Nabity, from the City of Grand Island. “They become a great thing when you see them coming true.”
Nabity said the downtown revitalization plan is one of those that have reached the “great” level because of the way it has been implemented.
“This award from the Nebraska Chapter of the American Planning Association is recognition of the work involved in bringing this plan and Railside to life,” Nabity said.
“This study has provided significant direction and guidance to the many partners who are striving to bring economic development to downtown Grand Island,” said Downtown Business Improvement District Director Cara Lemburg.
The City of Grand Island received two other honors during the NPZA conference at the awards program. It received the Public Outreach award for its organization of a community-wide Tax-Increment Financing Workshop held last October. The city also received the Best Practice award for a tax-increment financing learning game it prepared and has presented to the media and community groups.