Kearney city officials say that basic renovations on several storefronts on First Avenue in the downtown "Bricks" area would help restore the historical flavor of the section, and they're putting money on it in the form of facade project grant awards.
Property manager Timothy Lowe will be using the grants to fix two storefronts: "It's just basically a paint, putty, and window project on these buildings. They, even when they were brand new, didn't look great, but they could look a little bit better than they do now."
City of Kearney Development Services' Suzanne Brodine: "It encourages some economic development by helping out some of those property owners or small business owners with making some improvements, but then it also really encourages that preservation, to take a building back to the way it was designed to be."
With $40,000 being awarded this year for repair of three First Avenue facades -- as well as others -- downtown Kearney's beauty is set to spread beyond Central Avenue.
Suzanne Brodine: "These three storefronts, very visible for us. It's right next door to our library, which we recently did a multimillion dollar expansion on, so it's very, very visible to the public eye."
While they may appear weather worn today, the First Avenue facades will soon receive a sprucing-up, helping to make every corner of the Bricks area of downtown a more attractive place to visit.
Simply repairing the buildings' windows may make second floor studio space available for rent by artists, and allow for energy savings. For grant recipients, the repairs are also a matter of pride.
Grant recipient Scott Vonaschwege: "We're kind of right on the entrance to downtown Kearney, you know, and the library's brand new, so, it brings a lot of people downtown and it will be nice to look nice next to the new library."