Suburban Scene, June 23 - Omaha.com
Published Sunday, June 23, 2013 at 1:30 am / Updated at 4:43 pm
Suburban Scene, June 23

Association to promote downtown Papillion

A group of merchants in Papillion hopes to make downtown businesses there a magnet for residents and visitors.

The newly formed Historical Downtown Papillion Business Association chose as its motto “Rooted in History, Focused on the Future.”

Association President Kim Ahlers, who owns Kajoma's Fashion Boutique, said the group's first goal is to create awareness of downtown businesses, which will generate more customer traffic. On July 1 the group plans to release a brochure listing association members and offering information about downtown.

Ahlers said more than 40 businesses have expressed interest in joining the association, and 21 have paid membership dues. Downtown has about 80 businesses.

The group also has discussed holding events at First Street Plaza, which opened last week at the corner of First and Washington Streets.

“As we grow, we can be more specific,” Ahlers said. “It's only going to get bigger and better.”

Twin Creek will try for state funds under law

Bellevue City Councilman Don Preister wants Bellevue to get in line for state funds to help fund a new conference center proposed for the Twin Creek development.

New changes in state law allow cities of Bellevue's size to apply for up to $750,000 to build a civic center or recreational facility.

The money would come from the state's Civic and Community Center Financing Fund. That fund is fed by sales tax revenue off civic centers built with assistance from the fund, such as the new Ralston Arena.

Bellevue is being asked to build a $7 million conference center west of 36th Street.

Steve Johnson, managing partner of the Twin Creek Development Co., said the conference center would attract a hotel and retail and commercial business to the vacant land in front of the Marcus Twin Creek Cinema.

The new state law establishes $750,000 as the maximum grant for cities with populations between 40,000 and 100,000. Only Bellevue and Grand Island meet that population threshold.

Kevin Andersen, a consultant with the Nebraska Department of Economic Development, said a second round of applications might be accepted this fall. Andersen said the fund holds a little more than $2 million.

Ralston will consider businessman for seat

The Ralston City Council will consider longtime resident and businessman Lee Fideline to fill a vacant seat. Fideline, 72, would serve in Ward 2 in place of Mike Gillespie, who moved to Idaho.

“I'd like to see our city keep progressing,” Fideline said. “If I can be of some help (on the council), I want to do it.”

Since 1990, Fideline has served on the Ralston Planning Commission and is the chairman. Fideline joined the Ralston Volunteer Fire Department in 1963 and still serves with the department's honor guard.

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