More DREAMS Coming True with PCDC Downtown Grants

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

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The Screen Machine, Fye Law Office and Wagner Irrigation are the three newest downtown businesses to make improvements with the help of PCDC’s GO! DREAM program.

“PCDC makes this whole process so easy, and they want to see the downtown improve, and they want to see these businesses thrive,” said grant recipient Aubri Nantkes, owner of the Screen Machine.

The Screen Machine applied for and received a GO! DREAM Exterior Remediation Grant for new electrical wiring, new LED lights, and new HVAC system to bring their building up to code and to support the machinery they have and have purchased to expand their business.

Aubri and her husband, Dustin, purchased the building at 405 West Ave. in the fall of 2019 and moved their business downtown. However, they needed critical updates, such as updating electrical systems and lighting to do their businesses effectively.

“We needed those upgrades to keep up with the large amount of orders we have coming in and going out,” Aubri said.

Aubri said the grant allowed them to save money to further invest in their downtown business.

“The grant was very important because there are other things we want to do,” she said. “We want to be able to make our building a lot nicer than it is. To do that, we need to save as much money as we can for some of the things that were unexpected.”

The Nantkes plan to continue improving the look of their building and will seek PCDC signage and façade grants to do their part to beautify downtown Holdrege.

Aubri said PCDC grants are easy to complete, unlike some other more time-consuming grant applications. She encourages other downtown business owners to apply for GO! DREAM grants if they are considering business improvements.

Fye Properties LLC/Fye Law Office also received GO! DREAM grants to create another downtown living opportunity.

Tana Fye plans to create an apartment above her law office at 713 Fourth Ave. and received three PCDC grants to do so:

  • Code Compliance — to bring the building into code for the apartment.
  • First Impression Grant — to redo the iron stairwell on the east side of her building as the entrance for the tenant(s) in the apartment.
  • Exterior Remediation Grant — to update the building's HVAC system to support the apartment.

Fye said she hopes that work on these projects can begin this spring and be completed by the end of 2020.

“The grants that I received from PCDC are instrumental in being able to move forward with this project,” Fye said. “The substantial renovations that are necessary for this project are very expensive and would be cost-prohibitive to moving forward without grant assistance.”

The plans include creating a two-bedroom, one-and-a-half bathroom apartment above her law firm. It will be an open-concept living space with large windows to take advantage of downtown views, exposed brick and higher-end finishes that will keep with the historic character of the building.

“I envision this being a space that a single person or couple would feel most comfortable living in,” she said.

Fye Properties, LLC, purchased the building in 2015 from Stanley Ourada and renovated the first floor and basement for Fye Law Office. The building, known as the Citizen State Bank Building, was built in 1919.

Wagner Irrigation at 611 3rd Ave., received a grant to replace windows and doors, install a new sign to replace its faded business sign and to refurbish the building’s exterior brick. The business has already completed interior renovations as well.

Owner Jim Wagner said work has already started on the exterior improvements, and a completion date is anticipated in two months but will depend on the weather.

“This is an old, old building, and it needed the work on it,” Wagner said.

The project includes restoring the exterior to its original red brick facade.

Further information and applications for PCDC’s GO! DREAM grants can be found on the website at https://www.phelpscountyne.com/about-us/go!-programs/go-dream-programs

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