Wood River Vision 20/20


Wood River Vision 20/20, a task force of volunteers, seeks to help connect ideas and resources to make Wood River an even better place to live and work today and for generations to come. The following committees were created to promote a vibrant and growing community: Promotion (promoting Wood River, informing community, businesses and members, and welcoming new residents); Parks & Recreation (re-vitalization and new development of park amenities); Aesthetics (beautification of the entire community including landscaping the pedestrian walkway and highway garden); Housing (clean-up dilapidated lots and expansion of building site choices); and Survey (conducting a community survey in May 2013). More projects are in the future of Wood River Vision 20/20, so please join us in making Wood River a place to raise your family.

Board Members
Tyler Doane – President
Brian Hayes
Sara Arnett
Elizabeth Troyer-Miller
Greg Cramer – Mayor

2013 Town Survey Results:

1) Report of Survey Results
2) Survey Conclusions formulated by SCEDD
3) Addendum #1 – Includes more detailed look into housing and childcare

20/20 minutes

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Wood River Vision 20/20 Business & Industry Committee at Work

The Wood River Vision 20/20 Board has formed a subcommittee to work with local businesses to develop a positive climate for business development in the community. Kelly Gewecke, Business Development Consultant with the Nebraska Department of Economic Development, has been meeting with 3-5 business owners per quarter since January. Each individual business meeting takes roughly 30 minutes. The purpose of those sessions is for the DED to learn more about Nebraska businesses since those are a driving force in our economy. She also wants to learn what other resources the business needs to be successful, expand, plan for succession, etc. She has already proven to be a valuable resource to the local business owners who have met with her. If you would like to be on the schedule for her next visit, please contact Sara Arnett 308-583-2262 or Greg Cramer 308-379-5575.

One such resource is the Rural Enterprise Assistance Project (REAP), www.cfra.org/reap. Currently, REAP is asking Nebraska businesses and those that serve them what their needs are when it comes to business. The first statewide, biennial Small Business Needs Assessment was conducted in 2008. REAP would like your assistance to ensure that the program stays current with needs of the businesses it serves as well as to share data with other entities that serve Nebraska businesses. The Wood River Vision B&I Committee encourages all business owners to please take a few minutes to share their feedback at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/2016SBNA. The survey will close MARCH 31. If you have any questions about the survey, contact REAP Senior Project Leader and Loan Specialist Dena R. Beck at 308-528-0060 or [email protected]

In coming months, the Vision Board will be taking stock of what other types of businesses the Wood River community needs. If you have suggestions or are interested in help starting a new business in the community, contact Sara, Greg or any of the Vision Board members.

JANUARY 29, 2018 (rescheduled from 1/22/18)

The quarterly meeting of the Wood River Vision 20/20 Board of Directors meeting was held on January 29, 2018, 5:30 p.m. at the Wood River Civic Center. Board Members Tyler Doane, Greg Cramer, Brian Hayes, Sara Arnett and Pam Kjar(as outgoing secretary) and Elizabeth Troyer-Miller (as incoming secretary) were present. Local residents Chelsie Doane and Myriah Leisher were present along with Kelly Gewecke, representative from the Nebraska Department of Economic Development and Lori Ferguson from the South Central Economic Development Disctrict (SCEDD).

Minutes from the October 23, 2017 minutes were presented by Pam Kjar, with the correction that Chelsie Doane was added to those who were present. Minutes were unanimously accepted.

Chelsie Doane reported to the Board progress on the daycare exploration. The community survey through Survey Monkey had 122 participants. The responses demonstrate a notable need for childcare options within the community. C. Doane and Sara Arnett met with a couple people from USDA to learn more about the rural development financing options. They were also able to meet with Dr. Haley, Superintendent of Wood River Schools, to explore options of connecting a daycare with the school. Working with the school board, ineligibility for some grants, and cost of the project are potential challenges for this connection. Dr. Haley is willing to serve on the task force to learn more from other communities.

Arnett reported from her trip to Red Cloud and what was learned from their new daycare facility. Sally Hanson helped to develop Red Cloud’s facility and she is willing to meet with Wood River representatives to talk through the process. Lori Altmeyer, from DHHS, would be another person who task force could meet with learn more about DHHS (possible funding and/or additional support).

Lori Ferguson shared about Community Development Block Grants, and the opportunities and challenges that could come with this grant. The City of Red Cloud received $250,000 grant that is passing through to their child care development center. Now is a good time to apply as the State would welcome a competitive application. The maximum grant amount is $250,000 and the deadline for applications is July 30, 2018. The daycare center would need to be non-profit, benefit low-moderate income clientele and be compliant with Davis Bacon wage rates (this can increase construction costs). Wood River is well positioned to apply for this grant.

Next steps with daycare work will include a public meeting to review survey results, gain community input and formalize a task force. One option is to have Sally Hanson come to the first meeting to provide information. C. Doane will schedule a community meeting to review the survey and begin to gain community feedback. Ferguson is willing to participate, and SCEDD might be able to help facilitate some meetings to help move this process forward.

Arnet provided a Business Committee Update. The Online/Social Media Marketing Seminar held at the beginning of December was very well attended. A follow up seminar has been scheduled for February 27, 2018 from 5:00-9:00 p.m. to dive deeper into selected topics. Information about the digital Welcome packet has been distributed to area businesses and churches and information should be returned by February 15.

A Housing Committee update was provided. The OOR is just about done and the final house has been approved. There is $15,000 in demolition funds remaining. SCEDD approached Wood River for a pilot project to build a single-family dwelling, but due to the requirement that a lot be ready to donate, this is not a good fit for Wood River at this time.

Arnett provided an update on the Fitness Project. An open house was held with about 80 people in attendance. The Wood River Foundation approved a grant from the cycling equipment, but see opportunity for bigger improvements. The Foundation wonders if Vision 2020 would be the fundraising arm for the fitness project. This would mean being named as a sponsor for the Go Big Give campaign. One idea is for some new flooring in the fitness area so classes could be offered for the community. A follow up survey through Survey Monkey has been created to gain more feedback and identify needs. The survey has been posted around town and will be sent out to the school email list. The Board supports sponsoring the Go Big Give campaign and helping how we can.

Downtown revitalization update was offered. Greg Cramer and Ferguson met and will be sending our RFPs for the Downtown Revitalization (DTR) planning grant to 10 firms and will post it in the Grand Island Independent. The deadline of February 26, 2018, this is for the DTR planning grant. The planning grant includes facade, ADA improvements and other downtown improvements.  A review committee of about 5 people will review RFPs and bring a recommendation to the City Council for their March 6 meeting. In the RFP the goal would be for projects to be completed by March 2019. Phase II, the implementation phase, will need to be applied for in 2019.

T. Doane shared an update on finances and taxes. Joyce Willoughby will help with taxes for Vision 2020 this year.

In other business.

Kjar will continue to take the lead on the Christmas lights. This year’s lighting ceremony was not as well attended as years past; there were a number of other community activities that were happening at the same time. In future years the date for the lighting will be moved back to the Saturday after Thanksgiving. Kjar will apply again for grant money to purchase more lights. Caseys and the City of Wood River provided beverages for the 2017 event.

Updates provided about the open Vision 2020 Board positions. Kjar will not be renewing her term with the Board. Elizabeth Troyer-Miller is willing take her seat and take minutes. T. Doane nominated Elizabeth and Kjar seconded the motion; vote was unanimous. Willoughby’s seat, as well as her former role of treasurer, is vacant. T. Doane will take on the treasurer responsibilities until the position is filled. To fill the position, Doane will post the vacancy to FaceBook and Arnett will post the vacancy in the paper.

The next meeting is scheduled for April 23, 2018 at 5:30 p.m.

The meeting was adjourned at 7:25 p.m.

January 29, 2018 minutes in pdf




 Archived Minutes