Program provides tools to make our towns better
Most of us are happy with where we live, but why is that?
Is it the small town atmosphere? The community betterment? The parks? The youth sports? The golf course? The churches or the recreational opportunities?
More than likely, it's that and more.
But without an organized effort, it may be hard to figure out exactly what makes our towns great places to live. More importantly, it may be hard to figure out how to make them better.
That's exactly what the Nebraska Community Improvement Program has been helping towns do for the last 45 years.
It's not that a lot of towns aren't already doing the things that make for community improvement; it's that the process of entering the state contest requires local leaders to step back, look at their town and present their efforts to the state judges in the best possible light.
If their entry wins, local volunteers receive the recognition they deserve. It's when new NCIP entrants don't take the top prize, however, that the true value of the program kicks in. Over the next year, organizers can take the actual community improvement steps needed to put their town in contention for recognition at the next year's banquet.
A program of the Nebraska Department of Economic Development, NCIP recognizes both individual projects as special awards, and overall community development efforts, as represented by Community Notebooks. The latter receive on-site visits by judges who are trained in community and economic development.
All award winners will then be recognized by Gov. Dave Heineman at the 2008 NCIP Awards Banquet, set Nov. 14 at the Kearney Holiday Inn.
If your community is interested in getting involved in the NCIP program for the first time, or wants a refresher course, several workshops are set around the state.
The closest will be 2 to 4 p.m. Tuesday, April 15, at the Senior Center in Eustis, 111 N. Main.
The program is sponsored by investor-owned utilities such as Aquila, Glenwood Telephone, NorthWestern Energy, SourceGas, Northern Natural Gas and Great Plains Communications.