GO! DREAM Grants Help Bring Downtown Holdrege to Life Again

GO! DREAM Grants Help Bring Downtown Holdrege to Life Again Main Photo

20 Feb 2023

Downtown Revitalization

Downtown Holdrege is thriving again.

On a recent Saturday night, the streets of downtown Holdrege were filled with vehicles as residents and visitors enjoyed a movie at the renovated Sun Theater and Events Venue, cocktails and indoor golf at The Drive Golf & Lounge, craft brews at Lost Way Brewery and delicious meals at JB’s Sports Bar & Grill and Catrina’s Mexican Cuisine.

The Phelps County Development Corporation has focused on creating vitality in Phelps County downtowns over the past five years with its GO! DREAM grants, and the investment has become more visible after a robust 2022 that included several new downtown business openings with more on the way.

“With these investments and business startups come more visible activity, which provides confidence in others to expand or start something new,” PCDC Executive Director Ron Tillery said. “The community can feel it. More people are enjoying everything that downtown has to offer: movies, dining out, entertainment, and shopping. It's like throwing a pebble into a pond – its ripples radiate through the community.”

In 2022, the following businesses opened, sold to new owners or moved to downtown Holdrege: The Drive Golf & Lounge, Catrina's Mexican Cuisine, Turner Technology, Twin Dragon Martial Arts, Wholesale Specialists “The Bin Store,” Holdrege Day Spa, and Graphic Arts Shop. In addition, the Sun Theater reopened in April after extensive renovations.

Not all of these businesses applied for PCDC grants, but PCDC may have helped in other ways, such as location-finding assistance or connecting owners to business mentors and other resources to help them succeed.

In the downtown living scene in 2022, the new owner of the Schrock Building renovated four apartments, and the Dale Residences continues its transformation with the first renters expected in the next few months. These spaces are in addition to the Iron Horse Flats project, which was one of PCDC’s first GO! DREAM grant recipients in 2018.

And, more changes are on the way with a new Midtown Sculpture Garden planned and an expansion of The 308 Boutique.

Since 2018, PCDC has invested $313,000 in downtown Holdrege renovations and new dwelling creation through GO! DREAM grants. That investment has resulted in more than $2 million in private investment in downtown Holdrege in five years.

“Now, more people are living downtown, eating and shopping downtown,” Tillery said.

The GO! DREAM grants have been slightly different each year but ultimately support business owners who are creating downtown living units and improving the exterior appeal of existing businesses or starting a new business.

“We've made a concerted effort to renovate downtown building facades and improve their structural integrity,” Tillery said. “PCDC's investment has helped stimulate private investment by more than a five-to-one ratio. Consequently, that investment has led to more business activity including more new businesses. Brick by brick, we’re building vitality in the community.”

Below is a year-by-year listing of PCDC GO! DREAM grants awarded in the downtown Holdrege area:


  • JB’s Sports Bar & Grill
  • Screen Machine
  • South Central Area Recovery (SCAR)
  • Schrock Building
  • The 308 Boutique


  • 6th Ave. Flats (on the edge of downtown)
  • Holdrege Physical Therapy
  • South Central Area Recovery (SCAR)
  • The 308 Boutique
  • The Blue Vine
  • The Dale Residences


  • Wagner Irrigation
  • ruralMed
  • KUVR/Nebraska Rural Radio


  • Lincoln Federal Bank
  • Shelter Insurance Building
  • evolve Fitness Center
  • Anderson, Klein, Brewster & Brant Law Office
  • Fye Properties
  • Screen Machine


  • Iron Horse Flats
  • Opera House
  • Palmer Bros. Granite

If you would like more information about GO! DREAM grants, visit the website at https://www.phelpscountyne.com.