KIMBALL -- Kimball and Gering are moving forward on a housing rehabilitation partnership that was signed into agreement two years ago. 

The previous Kimball mayor signed a partnership with Gering in the land bank organization. 

Land banks are organizations that purchase, hold, redevelop or otherwise manage foreclosed or abandoned properties with the goal of achieving community objectives. 

There is a landbank in Omaha that they use to get rid of distressed properties. Kimball Mayor John Morrison said a few years ago, Nebraska legislature passed that if any two cities got together, they could form a landbank. It is an entity separate from cities, counties and individuals that has its own set of rules. They can purchase properties then either refurbish or demolish the building and sell the land.  

The partnership was in limbo for a while, but Morrison said the Gering Mayor recently reached out to him about moving forward. They are looking for six board members – three from each city – to form a committee – which they aim to have formed around September. 

“This is a tool to clean up properties that are in need of upgrading, especially ones that are no longer livable,” Morrison said. “It will also help get more housing in town.” 

Morrison said each city has pledged $100,000, and once the committee is formed, they will put the money together in a fund. Then, they can present their plans and ask for contributions from businesses, banks and foundations. 

“The goal is to have $600,000,” Morrison said. “With that amount of money, we could make differences in both towns.”