CDGB: On the Right Road
Crete undertakes public works project to ensure citizen’s safety
LINCOLN, NEB. (March 24, 2008)—CD Week recognizes and highlights the importance of the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program. The 2008 Community Development Week theme “CDBG: On the Right Road” offers communities the opportunity to celebrate successful projects and champion the program, which for the past 30-plus years has made communities stronger.
Crete, Neb. is a lively city (pop. 6,000-plus) nestled in the eastern part of Nebraska near Lincoln, which understands the value of the CDBG program firsthand. The city’s many activities and events, such as the holiday craft show, state regional baseball playoffs, or concerts in the park make it a great place to reside.
While much of its’ neighborhoods and scenery is enchanting, some areas were in desperate need of updating. Gravel roads, prevalent in certain areas, had the accompanying problem of little or no drainage systems to alleviate standing water and erosion. The unpaved roads were steadily becoming a dilemma; the gravel roads could not be plowed after snowfall, creating a dangerous obstacle for residents in the area who rely on them for daily travel.
Knowing that such a large street improvements project would cost a bundle, the city of Crete looked to the Nebraska Department of Economic Development for funding. The city applied for and received $267,500 in Community Development Block Grant funds, which they matched with $257,500 in local funds giving them $525,000 to begin the endeavor.
Input from affected property owners and renters was first considered when decisions were made about the design, placement, and components of the project; the project was underway thanks to the city, property owners, and other area residents.
Since the successful completion of this public works project, standing water is no longer a concern for residents in the area. Water mains have improved water quality and pressure. Snow removal, potholes and mud are no longer problems for the area, and driving conditions are generally much safer. Street maintenance is also much easier.
Not only is the area much safer and easier to access, but it is also much more appealing. Dead and overgrown trees near the newly-paved streets were replaced with new trees and vegetation.
This public works project was the first of its kind for Crete; its design, which incorporated the construction of sidewalks, has really benefited all residents. Children in the area now have safe sidewalks where they can ride their bikes.
“This [project] will be used as a benchmark to create a city policy on sidewalk construction as a public safety benefit,” said Diann Nettifee, Crete city office manager.
No matter what season, driving conditions have tremendously improved for the entire city. Winter snow is safely plowed and removed, and summer rain no longer creates muddy obstacles for cars passing through. The area is safer and more pleasant.
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