Holdrege’s Iron Horse District Named Certified Nebraska Creative District

Holdrege’s Iron Horse District Named Certified Nebraska Creative District
Some of the Iron Horse District volunteers are pictured in this certification celebration photo. Front from left, Kristine Jacobson, Vickie Klein, Lori Larson. Back middle from left, Jaimee Anderson, Connie Jacobson, Chelsea Feusner, Allisha Melroy, Sierra Burrows. Back from left, Ryan Ehrenberg, Mike Burris, Micah Huyser, Adam Hernandez, Cassie Ehrenberg, Luke Mills, Mona Peterson, Sherry McClymont.
February 15th, 2024 | Iron Horse District

HOLDREGE – The Nebraska Arts Council has recognized downtown Holdrege as an official Certified Creative District and awarded a $10,000 grant to promote and enhance the area, now being branded as the Iron Horse District.

The public is invited to celebrate the new certification at a Leap Day party from 5-6 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 29, at the Holdrege Public Library. The event will feature decorate-your-own cookies, an artsy photo booth, and information about the new district.

The Nebraska Creative District Program elevates the arts as an economic driver to support Nebraska communities.

Downtown Holdrege is already thriving with arts and creativity. Beautiful floral arrangements at Holdrege Floral Expressions, author talks and craft events at the Holdrege Public Library, painting events at the Lost Way Brewery and Holdrege Sun Theater & Event Venue, and live music at JB’s Sports Bar & Grill are just a few of the regular creative activities already happening in downtown Holdrege. Visitors can enjoy several bronze sculptures in downtown Holdrege, and the new Midtown Sculpture Garden is scheduled to be completed in the fall of 2024.

This new certification will open funding opportunities to enhance the area even further and bring new life to downtown Holdrege, which has already seen momentum from recent new businesses and investments. The Iron Horse District will create opportunities for residents to create and connect, attract new residents and draw tourists to the area.

Plans for the district include physical enhancements such as lights, murals and painted crosswalks; a temporary and later permanent art center/gallery; public art displays and contests; and a signature art and music festival each fall with the first event scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 14. It is an ongoing program to support the arts and economic development in Holdrege.

The certification process for the Iron Horse District started in the spring of 2023 when five local organizations partnered to begin the process. Representatives from the Phelps County

Visitors Committee, Holdrege Area Chamber of Commerce, Phelps County Development Corporation, City of Holdrege and the Holdrege Public Library hosted community input meetings during the summer of 2023. More than 40 residents attended those meetings and helped identify the area’s strengths, weaknesses, threats and opportunities and gave their ideas for the Iron Horse District. In the fall of 2023, more than 20 residents met to formulate a strategic plan for the district. The Nebraska Arts Council approved the strategic plan and officially recognized the Iron Horse District on Jan. 10, 2024.

The Nebraska State Legislature passed a bill to create the Creative Districts program in 2020. The program works to promote and support economic development and placemaking opportunities in communities dedicated to growing their arts-related economic sectors.

For more information about the Creative District program, visit the Nebraska Arts Council website at www.artscouncil.nebraska.gov/explore/creative-districts/ or call the office at 402-595-2122.

For more information or to volunteer or be involved in Holdrege’s Iron Horse District, email ironhorsedistrict37@gmail.com, visit Iron Horse District on Facebook www.facebook.com/ironhorsedistrict37 or visit the Nebraska Arts Council’s website at www.artscouncil.nebraska.gov/iron-horse-creative-district.

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