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Building a bright future in Diller

Published: Nov. 30, 2020 at 11:52 AM CST|Updated: Nov. 30, 2020 at 11:59 AM CST
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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - Through grants from the local community fund, people who live in Diller are making their town an inviting place to live.

Money from the Diller Community Foundation Fund has been used to make improvements at the local opera house. Funds are also fueling the construction of a new park. “It’s going to be in three different stages,” Diller Community Foundation Fund member Diane Wellsandt said. “We do have enough money to do the first part which is the tot zone. Then, we’ll do a spinner zone, for the next age group. Finally, the third phase will be revamping existing equipment.”

What makes the park project even more exciting is that young people have a voice in it. Skylar Pretzer is a student representative with the Diller Community Foundation Fund. “We’ve done a couple of surveys at the high school, just to help in what we need to change in the community, and to bring young people back,” Pretzer said. “The youth is the future of the community.” Pretzer says it’s good young people have a say in how money will be used to improve the park. She says area teens are on board, and have plans to help paint the basketball court. “Having the lines will bring back the youth, and we are even thinking about doing a summer basketball league.”

The park is one of many projects to benefit from the support from the local community fund. “Recently the fitness center up at the school has benefited by a grant from the foundation,” Diller Community Foundation Fund chairman Scott Pretzer said. “The scoreboard at the ball field, and the snack shack at the ball field received funds. The snack shack also benefited by having a defibrillator placed there.” The community fund has also granted money to a veterans memorial at the cemetery, to the fire department, and money helped the Diller Bank Museum put in new steps. Even the town mini-park on main street has enjoyed some support. It may be small, but it plays a big role for those just driving through town, or for those deciding whether to put down roots. “The foundation was able to help install a sprinkler system at the park,” Diller Community Foundation Fund member Micki Krieger said. “This has helped a lot.”

The local affiliated fund benefits from an endowment. “The principal never gets spent,” Pretzer said. “But, the earnings on that principal are granted out every year. That’s what we have to look forward to every year. In fact, for this year, our endowment payout will be more than $30,000 for the first time.”

Generous people from the community have helped build this endowment fund. Board members are now working on a legacy campaign. “A legacy campaign would mean that people would include a gift in their will,” Pretzer said. Community events like the DREAM auction dinner also help to raise money for the fund. “That evening generates funds both for the general fund, which means we can pay our operating expenses,” Pretzer said. “It also helps us make small grants, and some of the money goes directly into the endowment.”

For Diller, it’s all about cooperation, and having a vision for what can be. And in turn, it’s making this town a place where people want to be. “It’s a continual building process to keep Diller viable,” Pretzer said.

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