The Sidney Sun-Telegraph - Serving proudly since 1873 as the beautiful Nebraska Panhandle's first newspaper

By Forrest Hershberger
Publisher, Sun-Telegraph 

Council Approves 'Blight' Designation

 

September 1, 2021



The City of Sidney is focused on revamping and updating downtown, specifically areas that have lacked attention.

To complete the goal, the City needs funding. One funding source is the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG).

The CDBG program provides annual grants based on a formula to states, cities and counties for the development of viable urban communities by providing decent housing and a suitable living environment, and by expanding economic opportunities, primarily for low and moderate income individuals, according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Sidney Economic Development Director Kim Matthews' presentation said “the downtown Sidney area is just one section of the blighted and substandard portions of Sidney” as designed in a resolution adopted in 1994, and subsequently in 1997, 1998, 1999, 2008, 2001 and 2019.

“The area has already been declared blighted,” said City Manager David Scott.

Re-designating the areas defined as blighted allows the City to be eligible for future grants.

Matthews also met with the council to fill the sixth seat on the Historic Preservation Board. The board is designed to have seven members; three whom are citizens interested in the history and historic preservation of Sidney and four who are real estate owners of property within the city's historic district.

Matthews approached the council with a familiar name, that of former Economic Development Director Melissa Norgard for a four-year term.

Norgard resigned as economic development director earlier this year to commit time to their family business. She was approved by a 5-0 vote.

Matthews also presented the council with a report on her months on the job. She said she is in the first round of introductions and follow-ups. She also organized and facilitated a meeting with representatives of the Industrial Park businesses including Adams Industries, Freedom Yurt, Vitalix, and Recircled. The meeting also included representatives of Agri-plastics. The meeting was held to address as a group issues including employee recruitment and retention, housing, and transportation. Representatives from the Nebraska Department of Economic Development, Western Nebraska Community College, Cheyenne County Chamber of Commerce and the Nebraska Department of Labor were in attendance.

She also summarized the housing survey recently conducted, and told the council she executed a CDBG grant application for downtown revitalization funds.

In other business, the council passed the second reading of OrdinanceNo. 1826, rezoning 1109 Greenwood Road on behalf of Wamsley Construction. Councilman Burke Radcliffe moved to suspend the required third reading, but the moved died in a 3-2 vote. Third reading of the ordinance is scheduled for Sept. 7.

The plan is for the lot Wamsley Construction to offer outdoor storage as well as enclosed. Outdoor storage for customers requires changing the zoning from Agricultural (A) to Light Manufacturing and Industrial (M-1).

The council also approved the annual Certification of Program Compliance for the street department.

 

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