Hickman, NE - Community Center


The Challenge:
Hickman, Nebraska wanted a community space. They wanted to enjoy the learning opportunities provided by a library; the health advantages associated with a recreation center; and the social opportunities of a public gathering place. But in the town of 2,000 people, the community center of their dreams would be impossible to fund alone.  

The Solution:
For Hickman, it started with a JEO-led strategic planning process. Local stakeholders rated a new community center as the city’s top need, followed by a new library, recreation center, and updated city offices. 

Hickman hired our Architecture team to program a building that combined the community’s most-wanted amenities into a single, multipurpose facility. With this vision in place, Hickman then worked with our planners to create a planning study that outlined the scope of the project and provided cost estimates for the work. The 16,940 SF building features a multi-purpose room that can be used as a gym, a reading center, meeting room, patio, city offices, and a kitchen and bar area. The price tag for the facility, with a design tailored to Hickman’s specifications and needs, was about $4 million. 

In partnership with our Funding department, the city combined grants, low-interest loans, and statutorily-authorized programs to fund the community center project. Each of the funding sources selected complimented and leveraged one another. The proceeds of a 1.5% local option sales tax (LOST) are being used to repay a $3.6M low-interest loan through USDA Rural Development.  Using the LOST and USDA’s loan as a local match, Hickman successfully won a $375,000 grant from the Nebraska Department of Economic Development through the highly competitive Civic and Community Center Financing Fund Program. 

Project Benefits: 
The amenities garnered by Hickman’s community center enrich the lives of residents and enhance the community’s sustainability and growth. Hickman’s success was the result of creatively combining strategic planning processes, a solution-oriented design, and leveraging complementary funding sources.