First GO! DREAM Grant Awarded For Historic Downtown Holdrege Building

Thursday, October 25, 2018

PCDC announced its new downtown revitalization program in September, and the first grant to spruce up a building has already been approved.

Current owners of the former Holdrege opera house are hoping exterior improvements could begin as early as late October with the help of PCDC’s new GO! DREAM program (Downtown Revitalization Economic Assistance Mission).

Justin Trompke, co-owner of the opera house, said exterior work will include painting the currently red and white building to dark gray with black accents, installing new store-front glass and a SureWall system and fixing the brick wall on the Fourth Avenue side. Part of the building is on West Avenue and includes the spaces currently being rented by Curves and Viaero Wireless. The rest of the building faces Fourth Avenue.

Trompke said the painter would like to work on the project while the highway is still closed for construction.

Other improvements on their wish list include installing a new roof and creating a business store front rental unit on the Fourth Avenue side (a space that had most recently been rented as living unit).

“We are hoping to get the building all sealed up and looking presentable so it’s not such an eye sore,” Trompke said.

Trompke owns the building with his wife, Carrie, and another couple, Andi and Andrew Sweeney. They purchased the dilapidating historic building at 403 West Ave. in February 2017.

The Trompkes and Sweeneys applied for a $10,000 grant through PCDC’s new GO! DREAM program right after it was announced. They are now the first recipients of the grant program, which is intended to help building owners just like them make needed renovations and repairs to help the overall vitality of downtown Holdrege.

“The grant application definitely made it more economical and feasible to do this project,” Trompke said. “It was our deciding factor to proceed. We are grateful to PCDC for the opportunity to apply for this grant.”

PCDC’s Director of Business Services Carley Bruning said prior to launching the GO! DREAM program, they met with downtown building owners about their needs and dreams and researched successful downtown revitalization programs in other towns.

“This first grant is a great kickoff on such an iconic downtown building,” Bruning said. “This will be the transformation success story our program and county needs to gain attention and to help other building owners bring their dreams to the table. The opera house’s application moved through approval process rather quickly because this project is exactly what the PCDC board and staff visualized the grants would do.”

Bruning said momentum and excitement about the GO! DREAM program is picking up, and they are “anxiously awaiting” the completion of a few more applications from business owners.

The GO! DREAM program includes three focus areas:

  • First Impression Building Façade Grants: Up to $10,000 in matching grants to improve building facades and up to $2,500 in matching grants for signs and exterior lighting.
  • Code Compliance Grants to Create Downtown Living Spaces: Up to $10,000 in matching grants per new living unit created in downtown Holdrege. Work may include fire and safety, electrical and plumbing and structural work.
  • Flex Loans for Major Renovations: A low-interest loan (to be paired with a bank loan) for interior and exterior major renovations costing more than $10,000.

For more information, visit the PCDC website HERE or contact Carley Bruning at Carley@PhelpsCountyNE.com or call (308) 995-4148.

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