Community Redevelopment Planning

This map shows the incorporated and unincorpor...

Miller, Nebraska; Image via Wikipedia

Over the months that I have been writing this blog, I have found that my readers are an intelligent and perspicacious bunch. So I’m going to ask your opinion on this.

This is a project that we are involved in developing for a client. It is going to be presented soon and I have very few local sources for comments and improvements. So what I am going to do, is let you guys look over our thinking and suggest improvements or changes as you see fit.

So here we go:


Overview of Miller, NE Downtown

The Miller Depot Project

Executive Summary

Miller Depot is the name adopted for the comprehensive project being developed for the revitalization of the downtown business district of Miller, Nebraska.

The current planning suggests that the optimum desirability of this project is to utilize current technology to produce extremely efficient operation while not disrupting the characteristic period decor of the district.

We view this project as driving three goals synergistically.

  • To develop a sustainable type of development for small, rural town business districts that will allow them to compete with larger retail centers. This will occur primarily by reducing operating cost to a minimum, although this does require somewhat higher installation costs.
  • To revitalize in particular the downtown of Miller, to provide needed tax revenue and to return the ability to purchase the necessities of life without the necessity of driving to Kearney, a round trip of 45 miles.
  • To help Miller to reachieve a sense of being a town with its own interests rather than being a bedroom community of Kearney.

The project consists of four retail entities plus an administration building and a vending kiosk as well as probable cooperation in the revitalization of a campground adjacent to the district.

The Mercantile
The Mercantile

The Mercantile

This is the largest building of the district. We visualize using it as retail space. Preliminary objectives would include a convenience/ grocery type operation in conjunction with antique or other period/historic retail operation.

Inasmuch as this is the only building with a second floor it is also envisioned to provide some lodging availability utilizing the second floor. The Building is currently being used for storage of restaurant type equipment which will be utilized in this project.

Miller bar and Grill
Miller Bar and Grill; the wooden wall obscures the Beer Garden

Miller Bar and Grill

The Building on the right at one time was a café. It is proposed to return it to that use, specifically as a bar and grill. The fence at the left screens a vacant lot which we propose to utilize as outdoor dining and/or a beer garden. While we have been unable to inspect the interior of the building due to an uncooperative tenant (we are involved with eviction proceedings) after exterior inspection, we expect to find no serious structural problems. We expect that this operation will provide most of the day-to-day underfoot to operate the rest of the project.

The Event Center
The Event Center

Miller Event Center

This double storefront is approximately the width of the corner building although not as deep. It is currently a shell consisting of the four walls and the first floor. We envision this building to be a multiuse building. It will provide an area for meetings and community celebrations as well as meeting rooms for smaller groups. Food and beverage service will of course be obtained from the bar and grill next door which shares a common wall.

The Bank
The Bank

The Bank

This is the former bank. This building will be cosmetically restored inside and out and will function as Miller Depots’ administration headquarters. If cooperation on the nearby campground can be established (as seems likely) it will also function as the campground office.

The Park

Between the bank and the kiosk is an open space which it is intended to keep as green space.  Given that Miller no longer has a school it is being considered to provide a small playground as well as facilities supporting picnics. In addition a small band shell will be constructed. There is a small building offset to the rear eastward of the bank which will be developed into public restrooms.

The Kiosk

On the corner is a small 1920’s gas station shell which we will refit to serve as a vending kiosk for the both the town and campground. This will provide for the 24 hour availability of snacks, soft drinks and an ATM.

It should be noted that Miller at this time has no businesses serving the general public. It should also be noted that anecdotal evidence would suggest that a community without a café and/or a bar will soon not be a community at all.

Overall Project


This view shows the confines of the overall project.

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