A renovation project at a local bank has led to the establishment of what organizers hope will be a hub of community resources.
The Homestead Center will officially open next month in downtown Schuyler at 1119 B St. It is located in newly remodeled office space owned by Homestead Bank.
Approximately 3,000 square feet of office space make up the center, with six tenants ready to move in and open Aug. 1.
The center came about as a result of Homestead Bank doing a remodeling project that left the south side of the building vacant. Initial thoughts were to rent out that space, said Kevin Hoffart, the bank's branch manager.
But a different plan was put into motion after he was approached by Kem Cavanah with Schuyler Community Development, the city’s economic development coordinator. His idea was to create a space that could be a central location to house nonprofits and other services.
Hoffart jumped on board, seeing a couple of opportunities.
“One was that we wanted to rent it out. A concern we had was we didn’t know anyone who would need eight to 10 offices. So an office park was appealing,” he said.
The other reason was a center would create a site where nonprofits could be in one area, giving them a more visible presence in the community.
“It will be a very nice facility for them to use. That will be a positive effect. It brings them all together in one location,” Hoffart said.
So far, there are six tenants that will be housed in the center. One is the Schuyler Area Chamber of Commerce.
It will be a short move for the chamber, which is located near the center at 1107 B St. But Patty Schmidt, director of the chamber, thinks the move will be beneficial.
“It will definitely help bring awareness to all the businesses that are there. We will be able to bounce ideas off each other and grow from passing off customers from one to the next,” she said.
The other tenants include the Schuyler Community Schools Resource Center, REAP (Rural Enterprise Assistance Project), an entrepreneurship business coaching office, Colfax County Extension educator and Schuyler’s economic development coordinator.
Some of the entities moving in haven’t had a space to operate out of before, like REAP. There are three office spaces still available to rent.
Cavanah said the center is looking for renters that are not in retail, but instead focus on areas like community service and work force development.
The creation of the center will hopefully create an immediate positive effect on the community.
“The initial impact is it to be a hub of community activity over a period of time. We anticipate a lot of daily human activity,” Cavanah said.
Cavanah also said it should provide a great opportunity for collaborative leadership and synergy among those involved and the community.
For more information about renting space in the Homestead Center, call Cavanah at 1-402-615-3179.