|Spokes in the wheel|
Looking back over 10 years worth of building permits, a pattern emerges which is worth noting as we start a new year.
Despite some serious ups and downs in the national economy, Aurora citizens, businesses and organizations continue to invest huge sums of money, adding to and strengthening what some have termed the community’s “spokes in the wheel.” That wheel represents progress, and it’s encouraging to see that Aurora continues to move forward each and every year.
2013 was not a record year by any means, in terms of construction, but it was a solid year. The final tally of the 105 building permits issued at City Hall added up to $8.9 million (See related story in this week’s edition). That’s down $5 million from a year ago, but still a significant sum no matter how you slice or dice it.
One of the reasons that number is what it is each year is a constant, sometimes unnoticed, effort to prime the pump. Aurora has not one but two housing development groups, for example, which is not at all common for rural Nebraska communities. Realizing that available housing is one of the key ingredients a community must have in order to grow, these two boards were formed years ago and work all year long to encourage and promote housing projects.
Those efforts have paid off over time, with 351 new homes or duplexes built over the past 23 years. Local foundations have played a key role as well, purchasing adjacent land, creating new subdivisions and in effect opening the door for new housing growth.
The “spokes in the wheel” philosophy refers to a complete community, which is reflected in many of the construction projects initiated each year. In the past few years, for example, Aurora has seen several new businesses go up or expand, providing new jobs; built a community-based day care facility so that those new employees could find a place to care for their children; and enhanced Aurora’s quality of life with investments in a swimming pool, ball fields, competition gymnasium and field turf projects.
This is an ag-based community, and that too is reflected in the list of building permits. Agriculture always has been and always will be one of the community’s strongest spokes in that wheel. Millions of dollars have been spent over the past decade on ag-related projects, money that ripples through the rest of the economy again and again and again.
There are so many variables regarding construction projects that it’s hard to predict what a new year will bring, especially with $4 corn raising questions in the ag sector. The one constant in Aurora, however, is the behind-the scenes effort to foster, encourage and create new opportunities, all designed to keep the wheel strong and rolling.