Below-market loans for people to revitalize Fremont now available

Downtown Fremont could be getting a facelift thanks to the new offering of below-market loans.
Published: Jul. 31, 2023 at 4:08 PM CDT
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - Parts of Fremont may soon be getting a makeover.

The Greater Fremont Development Council has announced a new below-market loan program for people who want to breathe new life into old properties. The grant is funded by the state and matched two-to-one by the community.

“We had about 20 businesses and nonprofits in the community step up,” said the council’s president and CEO, Megan Skiles.

This will be Fremont’s second round of low-cost loans aimed at revitalizing the city. The first came out in 2018. Many of those projects are completed or still under construction, like the Lofts at 505. The building was vacant for more than 15 years until a developer jumped on the loan program.

Tom Ender has owned a small business in Downtown Fremont for 9 years. He says the only constant is change.

“There’s things happening all the time,” he said.

To qualify for the new loans, plans must include turning space above downtown businesses into housing, major renovations on rundown properties, upgrading or building new homes on vacant lots, or restoring abandoned properties.

“The first round of funding we were really successful in getting kind of that injection of inventory into our market that we needed,” Skiles said. “Now this round we’re focusing more on in-fill development or rehabilitation.”

For small business owners like Ender, it’s a win-win.

“Any little bump in improving the district looks great. The nicer it gets, the more people will come into my store.”

Greater Fremont Development Council is accepting applications for the loans. $25,000 will also be set aside for non-profits including Habitat for Humanity and Rebuilding Together.