Nebraska city makes drastic improvements
By KELLI ROLLIN
Jul. 16, 2017
BROKEN BOW, Neb. (AP) — Broken Bow has been seeing a lot of change recently, and City Administrator Brent Clark said he wants to help keep that momentum of the town and county going.
Recreation trails that lead downtown, new hotels, a library expansion, a new judicial building, a revamped downtown and bandstand, new businesses and restaurants are just some of the changes and improvements the town of about 3,500 people has seen, the Grand Island Independent (http://bit.ly/2v8eKkh ) reported.
Clark has been Broken Bow's city administrator for a little more than two years. He said the momentum that the people in the area have built to keep the town alive and growing is a big reason why he wanted to move there.
"I've always been interested in Broken Bow," Clark said, noting the passion in the town.
He said he always viewed Broken Bow as a progressive town, eager to get things done, even with few resources.
"I wanted to be a part of it and to enhance it," Clark said. "It's been a great success story for Broken Bow for the last 10 years."
The Minnesota native graduated from Wayne State College and began working full time in economic development and eventually moved to Broken Bow.
As city administrator, Clark said, his job is to help make things happen and create partnerships. If he hears coffee shop talk of someone saying who would like to open up a shop but thinks it's too far off, he tries to help.
"We figure out a way to make it a reality," he said.
Clark said there's never any response to those ideas saying it can't be done. He likes to at least try and do his best. However, he can't do it alone. He's just one person rallying everyone together to try to accomplish the city's goals, but it takes many people, including city employees, chamber members and residents to accomplish these things.
He said those goals boil down to figuring out how to get people to stay and live in Broken Bow. A key is trying to attract millennials, as some of the recent projects are doing. On the town square are a handful of home decor and clothing boutiques.
The square also was recently renovated, with a new playground and restoration and revival of the old merry-go-round and historic bandstand. The fairgrounds are also expanding to accommodate more events, and the city will soon get a new fire hall. New apartments were built and they filled so fast that a second 18-unit apartment project is underway.
Clark said after 10 years, the square will be complete again. The new Legends Neighborhood Bar and Grill and the nearly finished Arrow East hotel are some of the businesses that aid in that completeness.
"We're keeping our contractors really busy in Broken Bow," he said.
What makes a difference is that the residents re-invest in the town because of their passion and love for it, Clark said. Once he can help bring people together for partnerships, he steps away and watches the magic happen. People such as Mayor Cecil Burt are also instrumental in the town's momentum. Everyone brings something to the table.
"You don't want to stop the momentum," Burt said, noting that the town may have a lot going on, but that it never has too much to handle.
He said having Clark in Broken Bow to work with the town's residents and leaders has been beneficial.
"Brent has been a real asset to our community," Burt said.
But Clark knows he plays just one role in Broken Bow and he credits all of the residents, volunteers and employees for the community's success. He just wants to continue being involved in that and promoting the city that he loves.
"There are things that change every day," he said of Broken Bow. "Our doors are open."
Information from: The Grand Island Independent, http://www.theindependent.com