Over the course of the past several years in Fremont, economic growth and development has been at the center of conversation held between the public, city officials and other local enterprises.
The entire 23rd Street corridor has found new life with new eateries and businesses popping up left and right, a television movie was filmed in Fremont, downtown revitalization is occurring and the Lincoln Premium Poultry/Costco Wholesale chicken processing factory is in the early stages of taking shape.
While economic development inherently is a huge positive, certain situations have to be dealt with as a result. For instance, with more businesses opening doors and an influx of families joining the greater Fremont area community, affordable housing is a must.
Throughout the year in 2017, several pushes were made to jump start housing developments, one housing development was finished and one more east of town is progressing. The City of Fremont’s push toward dealing with the current housing situation lands in the Tribune’s No. 10 spot for the Top 10 Stories of 2017.
During a recently held meeting held at Christensen field, the public was informed about the results of a countywide housing study completed by Hanna:Keelan Associates, P.C., which looked at the county’s and city’s housing needs during the next five years.
And the need is huge, all throughout the county, and in particular Fremont.
The study revealed that with recent growth in Fremont, and with the Costco/Lincoln Premium Poultry operation set to open in 2019, there will be a great need for housing moving forward.
Countywide, the study calls for 1,508 new homes to be built — 786 owner-owned and 722 rental properties. In Fremont, the total number of properties needed according to the study is 1,194 — 560 owner-owned and 634 rentals.
Getzschman said the total amount of proposed Dodge County housing additions would bring $319 million back to Dodge County.
Action taking place this year in regard to housing included the opening of Fountain Springs Estates in June. The tax-increment funded project provides affordable living for people 55 years and older. The development consists of 16 houses, broken into 32 two-bedroom and three-bedroom units.
The two-bedroom units include a living, kitchen and dining room, one bathroom and a laundry closet.
Three-bedroom units have a living room and a larger kitchen area with an incorporated dining room and 1 and ¾ bathrooms. There are a few two- and three-bedroom, handicapped accessible units.
The one-level units have individual entrances, central air, stove, refrigerator, washer and dryer, and garbage disposal. Garages in both the two- and three-bedroom units have storm shelters.
“This will fill a gap in our community by addressing housing for low-income citizens,” District 15 Sen. Lynne Walz said during a June ribbon-cutting ceremony. “This has been a need in our community for some time, and I know this, because I am a realtor and I have tried to locate housing for many senior citizens and it has been very, very difficult.
“We have seen much growth in our community over the past year with Costco, Hobby Lobby, additions to Fremont health, the YMCA aquatic center and now the reason we are here, Fountain Springs Estates.”
East of Fremont, construction has begun for the development of Gallery 23 East, which is expected to be partially up and running in summer 2018. The 115-acre plot of land was purchased in December 2016 by brothers Bill and Mike Cosentino for $1.8 million, and will provide Fremont new opportunities in regard to residential living and mixed-use commercial space.
Available mixed-use commercial space will include office spaces and retail shopping opportunities.
Some of these opportunities include single family housing — such as townhomes and rental units — and multi-family apartment buildings. A wide array of price ranges will make Gallery 23 East accessible for many people, Mike Cosentino said during a previous interview with the Tribune. In addition, the property is home to a centrally located 14-acre body of water, being named Lake Galleria.
During a September ground-breaking ceremony held on-site, Gary Clark, executive director of the Greater Fremont Development Council, gave his thoughts about the project.
“Fremont has been poised from progress, growth, and sustained growth for some time now,” Clark said. “It is very exciting to see that things are coming together. Fremont has been on the map, and now we will be on the map for others to seek as a place to grow and to have a great, good life.”
Other potential developments making waves include the proposed Duke Estates housing development and the SunRidge Place housing development, which was discussed and had action taken on during a Dec. 20 Planning Commission meeting.
Currently, all that has taken place with the proposed Duke Estates development is a zoning change for the approximately 89.5 acres located at 1045 W. South St. to move from RR Rural Residential and R-2 Moderate-Density Residential to PD Planned.
The zoning change was quite controversial, with the Fremont City Council ultimately going against the Planning Commission’s initial recommendation of not re-zoning the area.
Duke Estates’ development plan calls for a mixture of single-family residential housing, attached single-family residential, townhouses and cottage single-family residential homes ranging in price from $145,000 to $200,000.
Opponents of the development have spoken about numerous issues relating to the project; including more pressure on sewers, flooding concerns due to the area being in the floodplain and the property needing to be elevated with fill, as well as heavy traffic flow in and out of an area with already narrow roads and numerous children walking to and from Washington Elementary School.
For the project to continue moving forward, property owner Derek Kovick will have to continue doing his due-diligence in terms of coming up with constructive solutions to problems addressed, the Council said.
During a previous interview with the Tribune, Getzschman said it was known the need for local housing would increase because of natural growth and progression, but with the Costco Plant coming, that need will have to be met sooner than later.
“Regardless of whether the Costco plant was happening, we knew that our community as a whole is growing,” Getzschman said. “But with the project, it was more evident that the requirement of new homes in Fremont and Dodge County proper was going to be necessary.”
It’s going to be cold today.
So be prepared.
After 2 inches of snow fell in Fremont during the weekend, temperatures are expected to dip to a few degrees below zero this morning with a high of only about 9 degrees.
North winds of about 5 to 10 miles per hour are still enough to create winds chill of -10 to -15 degrees below zero.
“If you’re outside, bundle up with clothes because you are at risk for frostbite,” said Cathy Zapotocny, meteorologist for the National Weather Service, Omaha-Valley. “You want to make sure that if you did get stranded, if you did have car trouble, that you would be able to have enough clothing on to withstand the temperatures.”
With a temperature around zero and a wind of about 10 miles per hour, frostbite can occur in only 30 minutes.
To prepare for cold weather, the weather service advises area residents to: check the forecast at weather.gov; make sure pets and livestock aren’t overly exposed to extreme cold; take precautions to ensure that water pipes don’t freeze; make sure your vehicle has at least a half tank of gas during extreme cold situations so you can stay warm if stranded.
The National Weather Service has tips for those who must go outside. Just a few include:
Dress in layers of clothing.
Cover exposed skin to reduce your risk of frostbite or hypothermia. Mittens are better than gloves. Keep your skin dry.
Try to seek shelter from the wind as much as possible while outside.
Change into dry clothing immediately if you are wet.
Drink plenty of fluids since hydration increases the blood’s volume, which helps prevent frostbite.
Avoid caffeine, alcohol and cigarettes. Caffeine constricts blood vessels, preventing warming of your extremities. Alcohol reduces shivering, which helps keep you warm. Cigarettes shut off the blood flow to your hands.
Watch for frostbite. Frostbite can happen in minutes, especially on the extremities such as fingers, toes, nose and ears. If you suspect frostbite. Immediately move inside to a heated location.
Until you can get indoors, frostbite first aid includes:
Don’t rub or massage cold body parts.
Put your hands in your armpits.
Hold onto another person or animal.
Drink warm liquids.
Put on extra layers of clothes, blankets.
Remove rings, watches and anything other tight jewelry or related items.
Don’t walk on a frostbitten foot. You could cause more damage.
Get in a warm, not hot, bath and wrap your face and ears in a moist, warm, not hot, towel.
Don’t get near a hot stove or heater or use a heating pad, hot water bottle, or a hair dryer. You may burn yourself before feeling returns.
Frostbitten skin will become red and swollen and feel like it’s on fire. You may develop blisters. Don’t break the blisters. It could cause scarring and infection.
If your skin turns blue or gray, is very swollen, blistered or feels hard and numb even under the surface, go to a hospital as soon as possible.
Area residents also must be aware of hypothermia, a health hazard that occurs when the body temperature is lowered too much. Get medical attention immediately.
More information is available at http://www.nws.noaa.gov/om/cold/
Until now, the area has had less cold weather, but that is changing.
“After a fairly snow-free fall and early part to winter, we are seeing a colder pattern and more winter-like weather,” Zapotocny said. “We’ve gotten by much of the end of the year with more fall-like weather and now it’s definitely turning more wintery.”