Central City, NE: Five Issues, One Solution

In the mid-2000s, Central City’s leaders identified a number of seemingly-unrelated issues that needed attention:

  • Existing housing stock was rapidly aging, but new residential construction was at a virtual standstill.
  • A badly-deteriorating trailer park was down to about one-third occupancy next to an adjacent property overgrown with vegetation and an abandoned water pit, creating an unsightly and hazardous area.
  • Soccer leagues were flourishing, but there weren’t enough soccer fields.
  • The city’s 50-year-old swimming pool was reaching the end of its useful life.
  • There wasn’t enough open space for recreation and walking areas.

The city’s leadership appealed to a broad spectrum of community residents and organizations who then came together to develop a proposal to address all these nagging problems.

As they worked, the five key issues coalesced into one solution, resulting in a proposal for the South Recreation Project.

The city held public meetings to solicit ideas on what should be included in the project. Anyone who wanted to be involved could present — and improve upon — suggestions. School students of various ages offered feedback on the design, particularly for the swimming pool.

The result was the South Recreation Complex, which includes a trailer park, new lake, aquatic center, soccer facilities, residential subdivision, and a hiking/biking trail.