Blair residents will have an opportunity to learn about potential plans for three buildings on the former Dana College campus at a meeting 5 p.m. Monday at the Gardner-Hawks Center Atrium.
Angels Share Inc., the nonprofit organization redeveloping the campus, will host a public hearing as a requirement for an application to the Department of Economic Development for Nebraska Affordable Housing Program grant.
Ed Shada, Angels Share founder and president, said the nonprofit is seeking $750,000 in National Housing Trust Funds (NAHTF) to construct 60 apartments in the former Blair and Mickelsen halls.
The organization has already received a $450,000 grant from NAHTF through its Innovative Housing Demonstration Program for renovation of the former suite-style apartments.
The entire project is expected to cost $11.4 million, according to a public notice published in the Nov. 5 Pilot-Tribune.
The grants, Shada said, are the first step in the development of the Frank and Jane Krejci Life and Learning Center, which is focused on youth aging out of foster care.
The former dormitories would be used for housing for those youth, some of whom are already working for an area business.
“We really want to take those kids who say 'I don't want to go to college, I don't want to be homeless or addicted, I just want a have a job where I'm making good money and I don't have a lot of debt,'” he said. “We want to bring those kids here.”
But until that housing is finished, Shada said the center can't attract more youth to Blair.
Shada expects to learn if Angels Share receives the grant some time after the first of the year. The funds are just a portion of $9 million grant the organization applied for through the Nebraska Investment Finance Authority's CRANE Program, which is a three-tier process.
Until Angels Share receives the grant funding, Shada said, the project can't move forward.
“We can't do anything until we get the money,” he said.
Fundraising, he added, has been difficult.
“It's just a matter now of getting the right angels in here to say this is something we should be doing,” Shada said.