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Groundbreaking Held For New Housing Development

Mar 27, 2024 (0)

The O'Neill Community Foundation held a groundbreaking ceremony last week on Wednesday, March 20 in Northwest O'Neill by the former tomato plant.

The groundbreaking was facilitated by a $1,000,000 grant from the state matched by $500,000 of local money.

Local dignitaries were present for the ceremony. Nicole Sedlacek, an O'Neill Community Foundation member, addressed the ceremony. The following is the address which Sedlacek gave.

Ladies and gentlemen, guests, and residents of our beloved community. Welcome to this special, ceremonial groundbreaking. As you can see, the ground has already been broke! But when the weather is as cooperative as it has been in March we did not want to hold up our contractors from making great progress. We also thought it would be a great opportunity to celebrate something so big and game changing for our community, to celebrate it on our biggest weeks of the year.   

Today, we gather to celebrate a monumental occasion—the groundbreaking of three new housing units that will shape the future of our rural community. As we witness the commencement of this project, we are reminded of the profound importance of housing in fostering vibrant, thriving communities.

Homes are more than just structures; they are the beating heart of our community, where families create memories, dreams take root, and aspirations are nurtured. They serve as the foundation upon which our community flourishes and grows. And as someone once said, "Homes are where the jobs sleep at night." Indeed, housing is intricately linked to economic development, providing the essential framework for attracting and retaining a skilled workforce.

Today's milestone would not have been possible without the generous support and partnership of various entities. I want to extend our heartfelt gratitude to the Nebraska Department of Economic Development for their Rural Workforce Housing Grant dollars, which have been instrumental in making this project a reality. Morgan Pearson from NE DED is here on behalf of Director Belitz and Governor Pillen. 

The grant amount was in the amount of $1,000,000. That is significant dollar amount that the State is investing in us, in our community, to go and build housing units.  In addition to all of the details that went into our grant application and let me tell you – we were working furiously up until the last hour to submit last spring, it also required us to have local match. With a local match of $500,000, the state matched our dollars two to one! That local match would not have been possible without the support of the City of O'Neill. 

Additionally, we owe a debt of gratitude to Mayor Menish, Council members Paul Asche, Kayla Burdick, Tim Gleason, Quana Kelly, Suzie Kramer, Michelle Liewer, Tim Schneider, Beth Walsh for your commitment to economic development. Clerk Sarah Sidak – thank you for all of your assistance and support in making this a reality. To the voters of O'Neill – you approved O'Neill's funding of an economic development program with a sales tax, nearly 12 years ago, which was the basis of that local support. 

We can look up and down main street and see the visible impact that program has had on our community and so many of the small businesses the program has helped, but we are now going to also be able to see it with the addition of these housing units. 

With this $1.5 million project – you're seeing the basements for three homes to be built today. But we'll also be building two more in the community with these grant dollars and local match.  We're excited to partner with local contractors, Master Visions & CS Construction -  Jon Loutzenhiser and Chris Sobotka. 

These homes will be sold with the proceeds from these funds staying locally for the O'Neill Development Corporation to continue building more housing units. As part of the grant program, we have an investment program that allows us to continue building more units with these dollars. 

The significance of this project extends far beyond the construction of physical structures. It symbolizes our unwavering dedication to creating a community where every individual has access to safe, affordable housing. It is a testament to our collective vision for a brighter, more prosperous future—one where families can thrive, businesses can prosper, and our community can continue to grow and evolve.

As we embark on this journey together, let us reaffirm our commitment to supporting initiatives that enhance the quality of life for all residents. Let us embrace the spirit of collaboration and innovation as we work towards building a community that we can all be proud of.

In closing, on behalf of the O'Neill Development Corporation, we want to express our sincere appreciation to everyone who has played a part in bringing this project to fruition. The Nebraska State Department of Economic Development Rural Workforce Housing Fund, City of O'Neill, and O'Neill Area Chamber of Commerce. By all of us collaborating together and working on common goals, we can continue to build and grow O'Neill. 


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