ALBION — From new businesses to agricultural expansions and downtown renovations, Albion is all about community-supported growth.
The Northeast Nebraska town of about 1,600 is even working with Boone County to bring in Boone Beginnings Early Childhood & Family Development Center.
Michelle Olson, executive director of the Boone County Development Agency, said the center’s steering committee is made up of community members who are passionate about education and children and are working together to bring the idea to fruition.
The family-focused Boone Beginnings is committed to working collaboratively with parents and children through consistent communication and opportunities for parenting education, promoting best practices in early childhood development.
In addition, it will provide reliable and affordable care, allowing working parents to fully focus on their workday. Boone Beginnings also will be used as a recruitment tool for local businesses.
And local businesses have been finding success, opening up both in and outside of town.
Albion City Administrator Andrew Devine said agriculture is a vital part of the community.
Pillen Family Farms, a farming operation and leader in the pork industry, recently put in a new feed mill and grain storage a mile outside of town, Devine said.
“There are a lot of things we’re really proud of. In 2014, we had a new lodging and event center (the Cardinal Inn Hotel and Event Center) built on the highway (14).”
Inside the city limits, business was booming downtown, including Hwy. 14 Brewing Co. and The Stirred Pot, Olson said.
3C’s Cleveland’s Cafe and Catering, owned by Hannah and Pat Cleveland, has an “awesome partnership” with Hwy. 14 Brewing, she said.
The cafe provides food Thursday through Saturday to the brewery, including burgers, pizzas and sandwiches. 3C’s, what Hannah Cleveland described as a “mom and pop shop,” also does all catering for Hwy. 14.
The Stirred Pot also provides delicious food to the residents of Albion in “an eclectic, boutique-type setting,” Devine said.
The restaurant offers everything from soup and salad to steaks, fried rice, fish tacos and dessert.
Olson said many other downtown businesses have made the community more attractive through downtown revitalization funding provided by the Nebraska Community Development Block Grant.
The three-year program, which began in 2018 and is now about 30 percent complete, provides for revitalization within downtown business districts. It may include city improvements such as street, water and sewage systems, historic restoration and removal of architectural barriers.
The funding also may be used by businesses for loans to improve facades and signage and to meet community codes.
There are 52 businesses partnering and/or participating in the downtown revitalization, Olson said.
“A city’s downtown area has an important and unique role in economic and community development. It’s great to see so many businesses benefiting from (Downtown Revitalization) funds, and the community has really enjoyed seeing all the updates and changes,” Olson said.