Nebraska City City Hall

Nebraska City City Hall

(Nebraska City) -- Efforts to convert a former nursing home into a substance abuse treatment center received support from Nebraska City's commissioners Monday night.

By unanimous vote, the city council approved the allocation of more than $193,000 from the city's Growth Funds to Inspired Hope LLC. Speaking on KMA's "Morning Line" program Tuesday morning, City Administrator Grayson Path says the forgivable loan will assist the company in renovating the former Duff's Friendship Village on 11th Street into a facility assisting mental health and substance abuse patients.

"That's unfortunately a rather large population in the area," said Path. "So, there's quite a bit of a need for this kind of assistance. So, a group of doctors, psychologists and nurses will help these individuals on the road to recovery, and to get passed that."

The growth funds are part of a total project estimated at around $850,000. Path says the funding carries some stipulations.

"The terms and conditions on that are, they have to have, on average, 12 full time equivalent positions in a matter of 24 months," he said, "starting with the issuance of the loan, itself, which will be issued in the next month or two, and also provide for some semiannual reporting to the council."

Path says the renovations entail elevator modernization and fire arm system replacement to meet ADA standards.

"It's still a very sound structure," said Path. "As I understand it, the prior owners took care of it, and they did a good job of maintaining it, and taking care of it. Under current codes these days, the current elevator is not adequate under today's codes, and the sprinkler system has to be in good shape."

Path says Inspired Hope officials hope to begin operations inside the building as early as January.

"They believed they would have it done in a few months," he said. "So, they're hoping to have employees working by January, roughly--January of 2020. Obviously, the work would still be underway, but they're looking at utilizing one of the main floors--I think the main floor, itself, and not the other floors--to start off with while the elevator is still under construction. So, they want to get started the next few months with operations."

In other business, the council approved an amendment to the city's economic development plan, allowing early childhood infrastructure development pursuant to LB-160. Approved in the Unicameral and signed by Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts back in March, the bill allowed for child care development projects listed under economic development projects. You can hear the full interview with Grayson Path on our "Morning Line" page online at kmaland.com.