Amos Anson of downtown's Chocolate Bar was already at work on his cafe's facade this morning, hoping the city of Grand Island would soon lend a helping hand...
Amos Anson: "Downtown needs a facelift, and it needs support behind it."
And, as he sees it, community redevelopment funds are an investment that pays.
Amos Anson: "We have brought in...tax dollars already, we've improved the value of the building which has therefore increased my taxes on the building, so this 'Chocolate Bar' has done exactly what their program was intended to do, and that's to bring in more tax dollars."
Home remodeler and developer Larry Fowle is seeking a city grant to conduct a "micro-blighting" study that may help blaze a path to allow renovation of individual run-down properties, not just wide areas.
Larry Fowle: "It benefits the city to get it back on the tax roll at a much greater proportion of taxes."
C.R.A. money can help get decaying structures back into service, or into service at a higher level, returning funds to city tax rolls. But, C.R.A. officials say the funds need to be distributed with care.
Hall County Regional Planning Commission director Chad Nabity: "We actually expend those funds after the project has taken place, so the owners have to be prepared to spend the money at the front end, and when they submit the bills, we will reimburse them. What that really does is insure that the project gets done, and it gets done in the way that they said they were going to do it."
The board approved the grants to Anson and Fowle, and also granted $100,000 to Chief Industries for the demolition of the former Aurora Coop facility, which may be achieved within months, given the appropriate permits.