Hastings Mayor sees "Downtown really coming together"

Hastings mayor sees downtown 'really coming together'

Tony Herrman
Sep 29, 2015

A lot of people have been spending a lot of time and money on development projects in downtown and that investment is paying off, city officials said Monday. After Tiffany Crouse, director of the Hastings Downtown Center Association, thanked the Hastings City Council at its meeting Monday for the city's support of Junk Street, which drew more than 3,000 people to downtown on Sept. 19, Mayor Vern Powers thanked a long list of local residents who have contributed to the development of downtown Hastings. Powers began with Randy Chick, executive director of the Business Improvement District and Community Redevelopment Authority.

He also mentioned the following:
— Chris Thom, William Hermes, Justin Osborne, Tyler Adam and Dave Rippe, partners
     in THOAR, LLC, which is taking on a development project on First Street.
— Paul and Sandra Hamelink, who opened Paul's Cigar Bar, 201 N. Lincoln Ave.
— Jeb and Charla Brant, who have taken on several development projects.
— Butch Bienkowski, who is renovating the former PJ's bar, 117 N. Lincoln Ave.
— Bob Murphy, who has taken on several development projects
— Jack Crowley, Larry Schnase and Harry Dworak, investors in the Uptown Experience
     apartments, 517 W. Second St.
— Alyssa, Brian and Marla Anders, who opened the Art Bar coffee shop, 647 W.
     Second St.
— Jessi and Nathan Hoeft, who are opening the First Street Brewing Company, 119 N.
     St. Joseph Ave.
— Chuck Shoemaker and Lynne Friedewald, who live at 815 W. Second St.
— Pacha Soap owners Andrew and Abi Vrbas.
— Alton Jackson, who is developing the building at the northeast corner of First Street
     and Denver Avenue.
— John and Charlotte Hamburger, who have taken on several development projects.
— Josh Yost, who developed the building at Second Street and Denver Avenue, which
     is now home to Jimmy John's, WineStyles and apartments.
— Developers of The Lark.
— Charlotte Hawthorne, who developed 810 W. Second St., home to her counseling
— Greg Sinner, who has taken on several development projects.

"I'm sure I'm missing some people but I want to say to those people thank you for investing in the town and making that downtown more vibrant every day," Powers said. Despite all of those projects, Powers said there are still development opportunities available.

"Downtown is really coming together and there'll be a lot more projects," he said. During council member comments, Phil Odom asked about looking into changing the way the city and Hastings Utilities use funds to support economic development, including possibly boosting aviation in Hastings.

"I think there are some ways that we can maybe even better utilize that money," he said. Not only is downtown full of development projects, but Powers said in closing the meeting that Hastings may be in the best financial position ever, which should spur more work in the future. "That's due to hard work by Joe (Patterson, city administrator) and Barb (Adler, city treasurer), me and you guys," he told the council. "Our department heads have been very frugal about what they've wanted. Our next mayor and council are going to have a great opportunity to truly market this town and not have to worry about finances. I'm really looking forward to what the future's going to bring."