As the energy and excitement built around the revitalization of Railside, it became obvious to the Railside BID and its board, that some large projects would need public/private collaboration to achieve. The City of Grand Island, CRA, and Grow Grand Island have all made substantial contributions in support of Railside. Other private and public donations were also important in completion of various projects.
A major goal was achieved with the completion of Railside Plaza; new concrete, lighting, landscaping, benches, and shade structures were added to the existing mini-park. Once again, through strengthened collaboration efforts, a BID contribution of $22,550 was leveraged to complete the project with contributions from CRA, CDBG, and the City of GI totaling $246,887. Additionally the Grow Grand Island initiative donated works of art to enhance the plaza that is now available for concerts, weddings, meetings, church services, and unlimited other activities.
With the development of upper-story living and creation of new jobs in Railside, bike racks have been installed to help encourage healthy life styles and demonstrate that downtown is bicycle friendly for residents, employees, diners, and shoppers. The BID contributed $3000, Grow Grand Island donated $5000, and a private donation was received for $3000. The bike racks are not only functional but are public works of art scattered throughout Railside. We want to encourage Railside patrons and employees to ride their bike during National Bike to Work Week during the week of May 14th-18th!
UPPER LEVEL HOUSING
The BID worked closely with local developers and the Community Redevelopment Authority (CRA) to create the LIfe Safety Grant with the goal to create 50 new units by 2020.
Some of the recent Housing Projects that utilized the grant:
Temple Lofts - 11 Units
Brown Hotel - 3 Units
Urban Island - 6 Units (In progress)
Hedde Building - 12 Units (In progress)
209 W. 3rd - 2 Units (In progress)
207 W. 3rd - 1 Unit (In progress)
Part of the Railside branding campaign involved replacing existing parking signs with new Railside Free Parking signs in the public parking lots.
In one of Railside's first major undertakings, historic lighting was included as part of the alley improvement project. Matching historic streetlights were then installed in the parking lots, and in 2015, a two block section of Third Street received 21 streetlights as a test project.
This was a $321,000 project where the BID contributed $22,000 and the balance of the funding came from CRA, a Federal Transportation Enhancement Grant, the City of GI, and Nebraska Dept of Roads. The goal is to have historic streetlights installed throughout the district.