Six urban renewal grants have been awarded by the Story County Supervisors, and three of the projects are within the Nevada Journal coverage area.

The city of McCallsburg will receive $65,000 to assist in the financing of the city’s water looping project.

The Colo-Nesco School District will receive $45,000 to assist in the construction of a playground at the elementary school in Zearing.

The city of Zearing will receive $11,500 for Main Street facade improvements.

Zearing City Clerk Marchele Soe said the money for Zearing will be utilized to work on the building sitting next to City Hall (west side). The little building, which used to be a pizza place, shares the same roof as the city hall building and is the next building that Zearing is trying to improve as part of its ongoing work in the downtown area.

Soe said with the Dakin’s Lake project set to bring more visitors to town, the city has been focused on working its way down Main Street to get the buildings back in shape. "We want to find people who can put businesses in the other buildings that are empty to offer retail for whatever the economy in town can support," she said.

To its credit, the city of Zearing fixed up the building that now is occupied by a NuCara satellite pharmacy, which coincides nicely with the Story Medical Clinic in Zearing.

Soe said grant funds from the DNR to abate building nuisance, like asbestos, and help with other rehab have really helped the city in these endeavors.

The money from Story County’s urban renewal grant will be used for the front of the building by City Hall on things like making it handicapped-accessible and working on the roof and the entire new facade. "We just kind of want to mirror that building that we did for NuCara, and make another building that’s available to someone for retail space and that’s affordable to someone in a small town," she said.

McCallsburg City Clerk Sonia Dodd said the water looping project is helping to improve the water quality within the McCallsburg city limits. "We have some water lines in town that are ‘dead ends,’ meaning they run along a section of town, but they come to the ened of the road and they are capped. Because we are a small community, there are some areas where only a few houses are connected to any given water line… Some lines do not get heavy usage and therefore the water becomes stagnant. By looping the water lines, the city hopes to remedy this through increasing water flow through the lines and removing the possibility of the water becoming stagnant in the lines."

The water looping project began in the fall of this year and is being completed in three phases. The first phase was on the west end of town, where Dodd said the city had received the most complaints about water quality. The second phase will be aimed at the north end of town, and the third phase will focus on the east end of town. "The city hopes to have all three phases completed by the winter of 2014," Dodd said.

Total cost of the water looping project is around $130,568. With the grant covering $65,000 of that, Dodd said the county’s grant is a "tremendous gift to the city’s project," which will be very important in allowing the city to complete the project by the winter of 2014. "The city council is extremely thankful to the county for their willingness to help the small town of McCallsburg in providing better services to residents."

Colo-Nesco Superintendent Dr. Jim Verlengia said the Colo-Nesco playground is being built in Zearing across the street from the elementary school as a fenced in community playground and green space area. The playground is large enough to house a new multi-function play structure that is assessible to persons with disabilities, walking and exercise trails around the perimeter, a hard surface with basketball goals and an instructional area.

"We envision the area becoming a gathering spot for community members and visitors to the community," said Verlengia. The funds received from the county, he said, will be applied to completing phase I and beginning phase II next spring. Verlengia thanked the Story County Board of Supervisors for the funds, and also thanked the more than 80 community members who turned out to install the playground equipment during phase I.

Three other projects receiving Urban Renewal Grants are as follows: City of Collins, $20,000 for improvements to the city’s new Main Street Community Wellness Center; City of Kelley, $10,750 for construction of an enclosure for the city’s mailboxes; and City of Roland, $6,950 for asbestos abatement of the building that is to be converted to the future Main Street location of Roland City Hall.

The Urban Renewal Area Projects are funded by Tax Increment Financing revenues generated by the wind turbines operating throughout Story County.

In a press release issued by the county, it was reported that "each of the six projects will enhance the taxpayers’ enjoyment of the county, as well as increase the taxable valuation of lands within the municipality or school district receiving the funds. These funds further emphasize the commitment of Story County’s elected and administrative officials to the community improvement and economic development efforts of the cities and school districts throughout the county."