LINCOLN, NEB. (April 11, 2006)—When Lexington (pop. 8,544) was named Showcase Community in 2004, residents were enjoying 10 straight years of successful community and economic development projects. Since then, the community has made tremendous strides in accomplishing nearly double the number of projects, no doubt due in part to its “Showcase” status.
Lexington's long and growing list includes:
• Opened a new library in November 2005 thanks to a $1.5 million bond issue and $1.6 million in public donations.
• Built an indoor batting facility with three batting cages and nets for hitting golf balls, which was dedicated this past March. The local Optimist Club was instrumental in conducting fund drives for the facility—the most recent raising $300,000 private donations.
• In 2005, the city received $150,000 Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding for an owner occupied rehabilitation housing program, and $355,000 CDBG funding to expand the Grand Generation Senior Center facility. Matching funds of $150,000 in private donations will go toward the center, slated for an early 2007opening.
• A parks/trails master planning effort led the city to rehabilitate old parks and build new parks, and plan for a bike/pedestrian trails system winding through the community.
• The city received a $460,000 transportation enhancement grant to complete Phase I of a community bike/pedestrian trail that will separate auto and pedestrian traffic along Highway 283. The trail, which also will use $150,000 private matching donations, will be dedicated in spring 2007.
• Cornhusker Energy Ethanol Facility in Lexington went into product in late 2005, and is currently expanding production to 42 million gallons annually. Plans also are underway to double production of the plant's current ethanol production.
• The city and Greater Lexington Corporation collaborated on a 2005 housing project that led to 30 new single-family housing units as part of Phase I, with an additional 10 units currently under construction.
• Since April 2004, local CDBG reuse funds totaling approximately $200,000 have been used to retain and expand four local businesses with 20 employees.
• The city and several development groups are evaluating the potential of additional industrial/commercial development area, as well as addressing housing issues that impact low, middle and upper income residents in the area.
• The city is removing dilapidated and/or substandard structures to make land available for new development. Since 2003, more than 30 single and multi-family units and several other structures have been removed.
The Showcase Community Designation honors one community per year in conjunction with observance of Community Development (CD) Week. It recognizes those communities that have demonstrated exceptional capacity during the past five to 10 years to: identify development goals and strategies, combine local, state and federal resources to achieve those goals, and accomplish major projects that positively impact the community.
Governor Dave Heineman will officially proclaim CD Week in Nebraska, designate the 2006 Showcase Community, and present awards from the cities of Lincoln and Omaha on April 17.
FOR INFORMATION, CONTACT:
Individuals who are hearing and/or speech impaired and have a TDD, may contact the department through the Statewide Relay System by calling one of the following numbers:
711, (800) 833- 7352 (TDD), or (800) 833-0920 (voice).
The relay operator should be asked to call DED at (800) 426-6505, or (402) 471-3111.