This map depicts the 16-lot commercial development in David City being constructed by GDC Properties this spring. The left side of the map is marked by the train tracks and the right by Highway 15 across the street from Aquinas High School.

Cory Vandenberg said he struggled when he started looking for a larger facility to move his businesses into. At one point, he even considered moving Vandenberg Electric & Communications LLC out of David City, but decided to stay after purchasing the first lot in a new commercial development project in southern David City set to begin construction this spring. 

The city annexed the land across Nebraska 15 from Aquinas High School July 2017 at the request of GDC Properties. The company's plan calls for the development of 16 commercial lots in an area of about 20 acres with Vandenberg’s being the first. He said the new commercial development is warranted in the area and will be a boost to the city. 

“There’s a lot better options probably for me, but David City has not had a commercial lot to build on the highway in my lifetime, and it’s time,” Vandenberg said. “We developed a lot of residential neighborhoods in the last 15 years and the town’s grown and I think this will be a good opportunity to help the town attract more businesses."

Recently, the David City City Council approved a plan during its March 13 meeting to help fund the project with a TIF Grant. Tax increment financing, or TIF, is a public financing method that is used to subsidize community projects. The process typically involves local governments diverting future tax revenue increases from a specific area to fund these projects. Essentially, the money the city would get from taxing the land for the next 15 years will be used to fund the initial project construction. 

The TIF Grant from the city, worth up to $1,777,000, will cover the infrastructure development costs. According to the project plan GDC gave to each council member, this is broken down into $449,000 for site acquisition, $285,000 for site preparation and storm sewers, $245,000 for street paving, $385,000 for lift station and sanitary sewers, $245,000 for water mains, $125,000 for electric distribution, $25,000 for right of way landscaping and $18,000 for legal fees. GDC Properties plans to take out a $4 million loan to fund the rest of the project, for a total estimated project cost of $5,777,000.

Ward 1 Council Member Skip Trowbridge said he hopes the project will draw businesses to the area and generate the city additional revenue from sales taxes. He doesn’t expect all lots to be sold quickly, but rather grow over time. 

“I don’t think it will blossom quickly,” Trowbridge said. “Any time you get growth, you definitely get some good things from it. I think it will surprise us over time.”

Construction is slated to begin this spring and is expected to take about eight years to fully complete. Once the infrastructure is installed, commercial units will be constructed in phases between 2019-2026. However, GDC's plan states this could be extended to 2030 due to changing market conditions. Vandenberg said he hopes other businesses will jump on board once the infrastructure is in place.

“When people see building start, that’s when we trigger people (to think) 'OK, this is moving along, lets get on this while there's good lots.' That’s our goal anyway,” Vandenberg said. “To promote David City and help it grow, that’s what this is all about.”

Eric Schucht is a reporter for The Banner-Press. Reach him via email at eric.schucht@lee.net.

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Eric Schucht earned his bachelor's degree in journalism at the University of Oregon in 2018. He has written for The Cottage Grove Sentinel, The Creswell Chronicle, The Pacific Northwest Inlander and The Roseburg News-Review.

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