Kimball businesses renovate, update ahead of expected population growth

KIMBALL, NE — Business owners across Kimball are making improvements to welcome an influx of people.

The town is expected to see a population boom over the next few years. Kimball Economic Development Coordinator Elyse Schlake-Lukassen says business owners are getting ready now.

“It’s a great feeling to see businesses, their businesses improve, the buildings improve and get redeveloped," Schlake-Lukassen said. "It looks pretty. There’s a beautification and quality of life aspect to it.”

Dawn Moeser co-owns the Sagebrush Restaurant, Lounge and Event Venue. Her family took it over from the city in March last year.

Just over a year later, the inside has been updated and renovated, even adding an arcade. Moeser says the long, expensive process was worth it.

“We were raised here in Kimball and we remember this place being very important to the community," Moeser said. "We’re the type of family that, we’re here to stay. We’ll do whatever it takes for the city to prosper.”

It’s not just the Sagebrush either. Schlake-Lukassen says the town’s LB 840 loans and grants, meant for small business improvements, have all been given out for this fiscal year.

“It’s a wonderful feeling knowing businesses are taking advantage, a positive advantage of this loan and grant program," she said. 

Schlake-Lukassen says the town has seen many retirees from Colorado move in recently. With the upcoming Air Force missile project estimated to start in the mid-2020s, more moving trucks are expected around town. It’s a great opportunity for business. Schalke’s goal is to keep the boom around and avoid a bust.

“We want to keep the people here, whether they’re retirees or families that say, ‘Hey Kimball has a quality of life here that’s small town,'" Schlake-Lukassen said. "There's also access to Denver, Cheyenne, Scottsbluff and Sidney really."

Moeser says the growth of the town will be key for businesses as we emerge from the pandemic.

“We all need it," Moeser said. "The other businesses downtown, it’s the same thing. Healthy competition is good. Growth makes it better.”

Kimball's hospital has also proposed a new facility, partly due to the expected increase in population.