On November 8, Department of Economic Development (DED) awarded $350,000 in Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding to the Village of Wausa for Downtown Revitalization (DTR) improvements.
The Village of Wausa was awarded a DTR Planning Grant in 2016 and in 2017 submitted the plan within a DTR Implementation Grant application requesting $350,000 to implement Downtown Façade Improvements which had been identified as the highest priority by the Wausa DTR Committee and Village Board. Wausa businesses who participate in the façade program will provide the required matching funds of $107,450.
Northeast Nebraska Economic Development District (NENEDD) Community Planner Lowell Schroeder said, “Wausa is a smaller community with a thriving downtown business district. The community came together through the grant application and planning processes to demonstrate that they can implement a successful façade project. This community is encouraging and developing the next generation of business leaders by including FBLA students on the DTR committee.”
Business planning meetings are tentatively for the first part of next year. Businesses can then start the bidding process to begin work.
There's no illusion here — Wausa continues to be dominant in one-act as the team won its sixth straight state championship on Wednesday.
Wausa has a staggering 62 students participating in one-act.
"Our kids have overcome some things and they are just a strong group of kids who really pulled together," said Brad Hoesing, who directed the production with his wife, Sheila. "And our Community supports us every day. We don't get that many kids involved from a small town like Wausa without the parental support."
Sheila Hoesing couldn't hide her excitement for yet another state championship.
"I can finally sleep now!" she exclaimed with delight.
At the Johnny Carson Theatre in Norfolk, Wausa performed "Illusions" and competed against five additional Class D1 schools from throughout the state to include Humphrey St. Francis, Johnson-Brock, Bertrand, Callaway and Leyton.
Outstanding male actor in class D1 was Taylor Kumm of Wausa. As a team, Wausa claimed three first-place votes from judges. Runner-up was Johnson-Brock with St. Francis earning third.
Wausa play production director Sheila Hoesing has had a hand in guiding students since 2006 and nows the recipe of success has two key ingredients.
“Hard work and community support," Hoesing said.
Wausa is no stranger to the winner’s circle as they have made a state appearance for the last 12 consecutive years. Of these dozen years, they have claimed the championships 11 times. The one year they did not win, they finished third. Hoesing has been a part of every year.
Wausa went into the championships with a major advantage. The five schools competing against Wausa had a combined championship historical count of five wins while Wausa had that many titles in just the last five years.
Hoesing said the kids seem to work harder each year in order to hold up the tradition. A key element of Wausa’s success is that scripts are written by Hoesing herself. By creating scripts that suit the kids characteristics help tailor their production to the tools at hand.
Wausa finished runner-up after their performance of "Illusions" at the Lewis & Clark Conference competition held Tuesday.
A fire at a prominent Osmond store was contained before it could damage surrounding buildings thanks to the help of the Wausa Volunteer Fire Department.
Wausa, along with five other fire departments, assisted in Osmond at the Tiger Town grocery store. Osmond officials say smoke was spotted coming from the store around 3:00 p.m. on Sunday.
A ladder truck, supplied by Norfolk Fire & Rescue, was essential in keeping the flames from reaching the adjacent buildings, according to Chief Kruse.
Community members were on hand throughout the blaze to supply the firefighters with bottled water to keep them cool in Sunday's heat.
(Photos courtesy of Deb Polk)
A Norfolk teenager was killed in a two-vehicle accident on Wednesday just south of Wausa at the intersection of Highways 121 and 59.
According to the Nebraska State Patrol, 18-year-old Sara Hubert was westbound on Highway 59 in a 1992 Buick Lasabre when she failed to yield. The vehicle was struck broadside by a northbound 2007 Pontiac Grand Prix driven by 17-year-old John Rosberg of Wausa.
Restrains were used by Rosberg but not by Hubert.
The accident is being investigated by the Nebraska State Patrol.
The stands will have a strong hint of purple at Omaha Burke for next week's state track meet due to the many Wausa competitors and their fans that will be there.
The Vikings qualified three boys and five girls for the state meet thanks to big days at the district meet in Hartington.
The boys will be represented by Luc Bloomquist, Gaige Hegge and John Rosberg. Bloomquist will compete in the shot put after his second-place finish at districts. Hegge will compete in the 100 meter dash after earning district champion and Rosberg will take part in the 3200 meter run.
The five girls qualifiers were part of a district champion Vikings squad. Regan Hennings will represent the Vikings in the 400 meter dash as well as a part of the 1600 meter relay team. Ruth Johnson will also take part in the 1600 meter relay and the long jump. Thea McFarland will be busy, competing in the 100 and 300 hurdles as well as the 1600 meter relay. Paige Nissen will take part in 1600 meter relay, the 100 and 200. Michaela Timmerman rounds out the Wausa competitors. She will take part in the shot put and discus.
The Wausa TeamMates Chapter will be hosting a recognition event on January 13th at the Randolph/Wausa BB game in Wausa.
Mentors and Mentees will be recognized at half time for their commitment to the program.
Students involved in the program receive all sorts of benefits such as scholarships, a relationship with an adult in their communities, develop social skills, and often show academic improvement.
The organization is always looking for adults to pair with local students.
TeamMates is open to all students as long as there is enough mentors.
Check out their Facebook page at Wausa TeamMates. For questions or to become a mentor, contact Jane Wilbeck at Commercial State Bank at 402-586-2266 or Katie Clausen at 402-586-2366.
Wausa has become a mainstay at the state one-act championships as of late, qualifying 10 straight years before this year, winning nine championships. Now, in their 11th straight year, Wausa has added a tenth championship.
The Wausa crew took home top honors in Norfolk at the D1 State One-Act Championships Wednesday with their rendition of "The Passion, As Told By The Other Side." They won the competition easily, earning 60 points from each judge for a total of 180 points. Osceola took second with 170 points.
Gaige Hegge, who portrayed Jesus, took home the Outstanding Male Performer award on the day. He is the seventh Wausa performer to earn the best male or female honor since 2006.
Overall, Wausa has been to the state competition 13 times in the event's history, good for top 20 all time among all schools in Nebraska. Their 11 straight appearances is the third longest streak of all time and the second longest active streak behind Gretna.
Wausa is $30,000 closer to revitalizing its downtown thanks to the hard work of the community and economic development team.
The Knox County community was one of seven towns announced on Tuesday as having received $30,000 in CDBG funds to used to develop a strategic downtown revitalization plan. That plan will determine the needs and interests of downtown businesses and residents to prioritize business and infrastructure improvements in the historic commercial district.
An additional $14,550 in matching resources will be used for the project.
Wausa then will submit its plan in hopes of receiving Phase II funding, which means receiving a grant for roughly $350,000 to put toward revitalizing the community through that Phase I plan.
Another Knox County community, Creighton, is currently working toward Phase II funding after receiving the Phase I grand last year.
On Tuesday, Nebraska Department of Economic Development (DED) announced it has awarded $206,550 in Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding to seven Nebraska communities to complete Phase I (pre-development and planning) in the Downtown Revitalization category. These projects are designed to develop a strategy for improving businesses and infrastructure within central business districts.
The CDBG Downtown Revitalization Category is open to CDBG non-entitlement incorporated municipalities throughout Nebraska. Grants are administered by DED from the State’s annual allocation of CDBG funding from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Communities that successfully complete the planning phase have the opportunity to apply for Phase II (implementation) resources, which may include up to $350,000 per community for implementing the CDBG-eligible activities defined in the approved plans.
Last month, Wausa hosted three members of the revitalization committee in hopes of qualifying for phase one planning for the state's downtown revitalization grants.
The committee, along with Knox County Economic Development Director Megan Hanefeldt and Northeast Nebraska Economic Development Director Lowell Schroeder, took a tour of downtown Wausa to speak with business owners and see various opportunities for improvement in the town.
After the tour, the group met with more than 30 community members for a lunch and open forum discussion of the opportunities the committee saw. The lunch was served by members of Wausa's FBLA.
The committee spoke of the criteria they are looking for when determining who is eligible for the grants and they were very complimentary of Wausa.
"One of the things we always see when we come to a town, and you can tell right away, is the pride in your community," said Brian Gaskill, Deputy Director of Housing and Community Development. "It is clear in Wausa that their is definitely that."
Gaskill explained that they look to see if their are existing businesses in downtown, other opportunities for improvement and whether or not it makes sense to give the grant to the town as an investment for the state as a whole.
"Clearly what we've seen in our visit today is that their is a good mix of everything," he said. "You have quality businesses, quality people and you have pride."
Below are brief descriptions about the other communities that will be undertaking Phase I planning projects and their awards:
Albion (pop. 1,645) —$30,000 in CDBG funds will be used to develop a comprehensive downtown revitalization plan that would create the blueprint for creating business and infrastructure improvements that would help to increase revenues and attract new investments. An additional $14,600 in matching resources will be used for the project.
Cambridge (pop. 1,020) —$30,000 in CDBG funds will be used to develop a strategic pre-development plan for business and infrastructure improvements that focus on preserving historic resources and attracting additional businesses and customers to the downtown. An additional $10,600 in matching resources will be used for the project.
Gretna (pop. 4,165) —$26,550 in CDBG funds will be used to develop a comprehensive downtown revitalization plan that encompasses preserving the city’s historic buildings, (including enhanced usage and improved accessibility), and developing new businesses in the downtown. An additional $7,850 in matching resources will be used for the project.
Norfolk (pop. 22,835) —$30,000 in CDBG funds will be used to develop a strategic downtown plan that will focus on continuing efforts to improve and revitalize buildings and determine ways in which to enhance the downtown for events that help to attract additional visitors and customers. An additional $7,500 in matching resources will be used for the project.
Seward (pop. 6,050) —$30,000 in CDBG funds will be used to develop a comprehensive downtown revitalization plan that focuses on preserving the City’s 100-year-old downtown; enhancing the area for business and visitors; and evaluating the potential for upper story residential development. An additional $7,500 in matching resources will be used for the project.
York (pop. 7,450) —$30,000 in CDBG funds will be used to develop a strategic downtown plan that works to prioritize downtown improvements to properties and enhancing the area for business and visitors. An additional $7,500 in matching resources will be used for the project.