WAYNE – Wayne residents were invited to a set of meetings to see the results of a Comprehensive Development survey put out by the Northeast Nebraska Economic Development District (NENEDD). Citizens could either attend a 5:30 or 7 p.m. meeting held at the Wayne City Auditorium.
Earlier this year, Wayne received a Comprehensive Development Block Grant (CDBG) and are in phase I of a planning study. The city could be eligible for $600,000 of grant money during phase II of the process. In order to do that however, the community needs to come up with specific projects to use the money on and the survey helped target what those projects could be within the specified area. The town hall meetings allowed NENEDD to hear firsthand what Wayne’s needs and wants are, according to NENEDD Executive Director Tom Higginbotham.
“The town hall meeting is just another avenue to gather input to allow citizens the opportunity to voice their opinions,” Higginbotham said.
The money that could be awarded to Wayne is federal dollars given to the State of Nebraska, which in turn, is awarded to communities. During the meeting Higginbotham and NENEDD Community Planner Jan Merrill, talked about how communities are scored and that survey participation is one of the things that State looks at to make sure they’ll make a good investment.
The survey showed that things like street improvement, sidewalk improvement and disrepair or lack of property upkeep were high priority issues in Wayne. During the meeting, Higginbotham and Merrill asked the community members in attendance where, specifically, these issues came up.
They will take the information from the town hall meetings and confer with city officials to come up with a plan of action to apply for grant money.
“We’re going to take this information that we gathered, put a study together for the City staff and elected officials to look at and take a look at the priorities and the next step is to actually make an application to the State of Nebraska for some dollars to take care of some of these priorities,” Higginbotham said.
Applications are due in September so Merrill said by August, they should be presenting their findings and plan to the City Council. Higginbotham encourages those who have not taken the Comprehensive Development survey, to do so. It can be found online at the City website and there are paper copies at the City office, library and senior center.