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Partnership between building owners, state bears fruit
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Partnership between building owners, state bears fruit

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YORK – Restoration in progress this week at the Fillman Building in downtown York is but one recent example of many like it over time.

The multiple phases of a matching grant partnership between the Nebraska Department of Economic Development and York commercial property owners has paid dividends over time in the appearance and marketability of the downtown area. This specific program and several others are coordinated locally by the York Chamber of Commerce and York County Economic Development Corporation.

In all there have been 22 projects undertaken and completed since the program began with a $35,600 study, of which $35,000 was covered by grant dollars, beginning with Peterson’s Petal followed by Eakes, Elks Lodge, Goodwill, Harlow Homes, Little Cubs, Marla’s, Mid-America Vision, Mr. Dukes and York County Title.

That initial phase of approvals resulted in $304,444 in grant money blended with $146,945 of local, private investment.

The next series of grants supported projects for Goody Pop, Jewelers Vault, Lockbox, Global Tech, Minert, Opera House Bldg, Mr. Duke Mercantile, Pieper Plumbing and Well Drilling, Sun Theater, North Printing and Office Supply, Cindy Weber Building and Yorkshire Playhouse.

Those individual enhancements, all now completed, totaled $1.055 million of which $706,697 were grants to go with 201,278 private dollars.

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The total combined investment in York to date runs to $1,654,921. To that will be added the next phase of grants, only recently given the blessing of the Department of Economic Development.

Lisa Hurley of YCDC said one gratifying spinoff has been additional work completed outside of the grant program by property owners who simply chose to cover the expense themselves.

“Activity,” she explains, “encourages activity” among neighboring owners.

The Fillman Building facade, presently under demolition and restoration at the northwest corner at what was once the central intersection of York is owner funded.

Karla (Fillman) Ott said “we had to do something” with the building's face anyway, so the family insurance and law business started in on their own dime.

It started as a cosmetic project; however removal of steel siding revealed the need for a more aggressive plan.

The building, which dates to the latter 1800s, is where Fillman Insurance will soon celebrate its remarkable 1ooth anniversary.

Ott’s grandfather started the business in 1922. It was moved to its present location at Fifth and Lincoln in the 50s.

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