Keystone Hotel targeted for renovation

Saturday, January 14, 2006
The old Keystone Hotel, most recently a retirement home, would be renovated using tax increment financing in a plan proposed by the McCook Economic Development Corp. (Bruce Crosby/McCook Daily Gazette)

McCook City Council members will be asked to be a co-applicant on a federal grant to renovate the Keystone Hotel in downtown McCook.

The request will be part of the regular meeting Monday night at 7:30 at the city council chambers.

The McCook Economic Development Corp. is asking the city be a co-applicant for a $985,000 federal grant to rehabilitate the Keystone Hotel in downtown McCook.

If council members agree, the MEDC and the city would then submit a pre-application to the U.S. Department of Commerce / Economic Development Administration to see if the project is viable.

If the grant is approved, MEDC will purchase the building and approach the city for approval of tax increment financing for certain improvements.

The building will be renovated to be used for office and retail space for new businesses, with the first floor utilized as banquet/meeting rooms, the second floor as professional office suites, third and fourth floors for technology based companies, and the top two floors for residential and additional technology companies.

Council members also will be asked to approve the installation of a disc golf course in unused portions of Kelley Park. Also called Frisbee golf, the game is played on a 18-hole course where players aim plastic discs into five-foot tall hoops.

There are currently more than 1000 courses in the United States, with more than 30 in Nebraska, including three in Kearney.

The approximate cost of each hole will be $750, with money coming from area businesses and McCook Community College.

The addition of the golf course will not interfere with the maintenance of the park, according to the City Manager's report.

Council members also will reconsider the operation of the Keno game within the city. Council members decided at their Dec. 19 meeting by a four-to-one vote not to restore Keno, and council members will decide at this meeting if they wish to change their decision.

A letter from Reuben Hoff, Chairman of the Red Willow County Jail Task Force, which asks for a timetable to discuss Phase II of the Jail Study Report, is expected to be filed with no action taken at this time, according the the City Manager's Report.

Council members indicated at their Dec. 19 council meeting that they wanted a copy of the report before taking any action. To date, council members have not received copies of Phase II.

"First get the report to the members of the City Council, let them have time to read and digest it, and then talk about a meeting date," John Bingham said in his recommendation.

McCook City Council members also will:

* discuss the receipts from the 2005 city sales tax. Actual receipts totaled $1,236,778, which was $96,778 higher than anticipated. From this amount, $48,389 went toward property tax relief for McCook residents and the rest toward capital improvement projects, such as street improvements and air conditioning at Memorial Auditorium.

* conduct a public hearing concerning the one and six year street improvement plan;

* approve the hiring of a special legal counsel about the tax increment financing project at the YMCA Apartments.

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