Why Young Families Are Moving to Bertrand, Nebraska
12 Apr 2022
The pandemic spurred many people to take action to change what was no longer working in their lives whether it be location, jobs, schools, all of the above, or everything in between. For Michelle Mel McNierney, her husband, Jason, and their young family, it was living in Denver. They were already unhappy that their once quiet neighborhood on the edge of a Denver suburb was now surrounded by homes, so when their children’s schools were shut down for COVID-19, it was time for a change.
Originally, Michelle and Jason took an RV road trip east just to escape the COVID-19 restrictions in the city, but when they stumbled upon the quaint and friendly town of Bertrand, Nebraska, they were struck that it might be a calmer, healthier, and safer environment in which to raise their family.
“The people in Bertrand are super nice and helpful,” Michelle said. “They want to do things together like play bingo and play golf. It just has that sense of community. And, there are like 10 churches out here so that provides a feeling of safety, too.”
When they ultimately purchased a home and moved to Bertrand in June 2021, Michelle’s neighbors brought over meals and baked goodies and helped them with mowing their lawn. The new friends stepped up to help get the family plugged into community activities to make it truly feel like home for them.
Michelle, a certified yoga teacher and life coach, soon started teaching yoga at the Don Sjogren Community YMCA in Holdrege. From there she progressed to renovating a 100-plus-year-old building in downtown Bertrand for her own yoga studio, 607 Studio, which opened in January 2022 with the help of PCDC grants such as GO! DREAM.
The GO! DREAM program aims to restore and improve buildings in the downtown core, especially those with historic architectural features, making Michelle’s project a strong candidate for it. The GO! DREAM program can address both exterior facades of commercial buildings and certain interior renovations anywhere within the central business district of any Phelps County community.
PCDC ultimately awarded $22,000 in GO! DREAM and other grants to Michelle to help fund a new roof, purchase a new sign, and replace gutters and windows to prevent future leaks in the old building. Jason’s company, AP Roofing, did the work on the project.
Michelle appreciates the attitude of Bertrand residents in wanting to maintain their town and keep it looking nice.
“We just figured we needed to do something to support the community and be in the community, too,” Michelle said. “My youngest is almost two so we are going to be here a while.”
To further explore “Why Phelps” and to download the community guide, click here.
For more information about available grants and assistance for relocation, home purchases, and business development, contact Phelps County Economic Development Corporation (PCDC) at (308) 995-4148 or firstname.lastname@example.org today.