PCDC Grants Available for Homes & Downtown Buildings

16 Feb 2021

The Phelps County Development Corporation has announced its GO! HOME and GO! DREAM grant opportunities for 2021.

The grants are intended to encourage construction and sales of local workforce housing and to restore and improve downtown buildings in all Phelps County communities.

“GO! HOME and GO! DREAM address opportunities for improvement by priming the pump, so to speak,” PCDC Executive Director Ron Tillery said. “The private sector is the driving force behind both programs with PCDC providing the spark, or filling a gap.”

Tillery said since its inception in 2018, GO! HOME has encouraged more than 200 people, who were previously commuting from elsewhere, to relocate to Phelps County.

“Having workers closer to their jobs increases not only worker productivity and on-time performance but also generates new business activity,” Tillery said.

That increased business activity comes in the form of more retail sales, increased school enrollment and property sales of approximately $6,400,000.

2021 GO! HOME Grants

GO! HOME encourages commuters to move to Phelps County and contractors or developers to build or remodel homes to create more workforce housing.

The first set of grants aim to help local employers by offering housing assistance. The assistance could help attract new employees or bring current employees closer to their jobs.

New Resident Relocation Grants:

1. Down-payment Assistance

PCDC will match dollar for dollar, up to $2,500, any Phelps County employers’ contributions to assist a current or new employee living outside the county to move to Phelps County.

PCDC also offers these grants to public employees (teachers, government workers, police, etc.) without an employer match.

A recent labor study showed that 44 percent of employees in Phelps County commute to local jobs from other counties, and PCDC hopes to encourage a portion of these employees to become full-time residents.

2. Renter Relocation Assistance

PCDC will also offer $500 renter relocation grants to help current employees living outside the county or new employees move to Phelps County as renters. Applicants currently living in Phelps County do not qualify. Employees who have been renting a Phelps County residence for less than 12 months may still qualify if they provide a copy of their lease agreement.

Relocation grant applications must be completed by employers as they are awarded to employers as a tool to encourage their employees to move closer to their workplace or to help recruit new employees.

New Homeowner Improvement Program

1. Residential Exterior Improvements Grant

PCDC is offering up to $1,500 matching grants to new or current county residents who purchase a new home and want to make improvements. To qualify, the home cannot be valued at more than $275,000 and must be owner-occupied.

These grants help improve neighborhoods by helping with sidewalk or driveway installation or repair, replacing roofs, windows or siding; building or improving a garage; painting or a home addition. PCDC will pay the contractors directly on behalf of the applicant.

Contractor’s Risk Mitigation Program

1. New Construction Reimbursement Grant

PCDC is offering contractors or developers matching grants up to $2,500 to encourage the construction of new homes. They can be single-family or multi-family houses, townhomes or duplexes built for sale to the general public. The final sale price of the home cannot be more than $275,000.

2. Renovation Reimbursement Grant

This program gives contractors up to a $1,500 matching grant to improve or renovate homes for resale. The grant applies only to projects with an investment in materials and/or labor amounting to at least 10 percent of the completed project resale value.

3. Lot clearing and landfill fees reimbursement grant

PCDC will give $1,000 matching grants to contractors for labor or lot improvement fees such as landfill fees, demo costs, asbestos remediation and dirt work. The project must support workforce housing including single-family, townhomes, duplexes or condos valued at $275,000 or less.

2021 G0! DREAM Grants

PCDC believes that downtowns are the heart of Phelps County communities and their conditions telegraph to visitors and residents the vitality, culture and livability of the towns.

GO! DREAM improves both the appearance and the personality of downtown,” Tillery said. “And, sometimes it has helped to address functional or structural deficits that make buildings more habitable.”

Over the life of GO! DREAM, PCDC has invested $230,500 in buildings and generated more than $1.3 million of private investment in Holdrege, Loomis, Funk and Bertrand.

GO! DREAM aims to restore and improve downtown buildings, especially those with historic architectural features. The program will support both exterior facades of commercial buildings and certain interior renovations within the Central Business District of any Phelps County community.

PCDC’s participation is intended to supplement or fill gaps in conventional financing and act as a stimulus for downtown development. No grants will be made to government-owned properties or tenants in government-owned properties.

DREAM program grants may be paired to complete a project.

First Impression Grants

PCDC will offer up to $10,000 matching grants for paint, windows, awnings, doors, lighting, repair, installation, masonry, etc. for exterior improvements meeting the Downtown Design Committee standards.

PCDC will also continue to offer up to a $2,500 matching grant for new signs.

Prior recipients of First Impression Grants may reapply for GO! DREAM grants one year after receiving the first award.

Exterior Remediation Grants

PCDC will match up to $10,000 of qualifying expenses for fire, life and safety upgrades required by code and regulating officials to make downtown buildings functional. This may include structural, roofing systems and exterior wall improvements that produce a dry, buildable environment and HVAC, water, sewer, and electrical system upgrades to bring the building up to modern standards or maintain the building’s integrity.

Residential Code Compliance Grants

PCDC will give up to $10,000 per living unit in matching grants to develop downtown housing. The purpose of this program is to bring downtown buildings up to modern standards and make them an attractive asset.

These grants are intended to address code compliance for infrastructure and other deficiencies presented by outdated spaces, including sprinkler systems, electric and plumbing upgrades, energy-efficient windows and doors, elevators or ingress-egress devices, and any other life safety improvements or construction to improve habitability.

For more information on GO! HOME of GO! DREAM programs and for grant applications, visit the PCDC website.

The Phelps County Development Corporation works together with investors and partners to grow a vibrant Phelps County economy. PCDC’s work includes attracting residents, recruiting new and retaining existing businesses and manufacturers, securing a quality workforce and promoting Phelps County as a great place to live, work and conduct business. PCDC is funded through private investors supplemented by program income from LB840, approved by voters, which directs city sales tax proceeds to economic development.