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Gering City Council approves financing for Cobblestone Hotel

March 14, 2017 GMT

With city council approval of a redevelopment agreement, Tax Increment Financing (TIF) is now in place for the Cobblestone Hotel to be built at 10th and M Streets in downtown Gering.

The approximate $900,000 in TIF monies, which come from real property, will be financed over a 15-year period. The funds will be used for the public infrastructure portion of the hotel project. Included are a new water main for the 9th and M Street area, a new sanitary sewer line, curb and gutter work, and the hotel parking lot, which will also be used for public parking.

Before the TIF funds were made available, the council had to revisit and update its previous resolutions. Members first approved a redevelopment agreement with Gering Hospitality Group LLC, which is in charge of the project. That action terminated the original plan implemented by the council in July 2015.

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The termination allowed the council to authorize Mayor Tony Kaufman to sign a redevelopment agreement using the TIF funding.

Council members then voted to convey the property at 10th and M Streets from the city to Gering Hospitality Group.

Over the life of the original project, the city has invested about $2.1 million dating back close to six years. It now appears to be getting underway. Kaufman said that while a certain level of funding has been approved, actual spending could possibly come in lower than that.

General contractor Bri-Mark Builders has requested bids for plumbing, electrical and mechanical work from local contractors. Kaufman said that although the lot at 10th and M Streets is currently empty, he expects to see some action within a month.

Hotel funding wasn’t the only item on the council agenda for Monday evening. There were two ceremonies that Mayor Kaufman said shows the fun part of city government.

Gering Police Chief George Holthus was joined by several of his officers for a ceremony to administer the oath of office to new officer Breanna Stickels.

“We’re pleased that Breanna has chosen Gering to begin her career in law enforcement,” Holthus said. “Our oath isn’t just words on paper. They signify a way of life, a part of our identity, and a lifestyle choice that matters.”

Officer Stickels is from Limon, Colorado, and attended Chadron State College, where she was member of the track and field team. Her bachelor’s degree is in criminal justice.

Gering Fire Chief Jay Templar also made his final annual report to the council, as he will be retiring at the end of March after 37 years of service to the department He started as a volunteer in 1980 before becoming chief in 1991.

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Reading from a proclamation of commendation in Templar’s honor, Mayor Kaufman said that under his leadership, the Gering Volunteer Fire Department has provided outstanding public service in the areas of structure and wild land fires, emergency medical services, technical rescue operations, community and school education, and much more.

“I can’t say enough about Chief Templar,” Kaufman said. “He’s been a great leader for the fire department for so many years. “His will be big shoes to fill because under his leadership, Gering has one of the top volunteer fire departments in the state.”