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(Neb)-$100K Grant Allows Demolition Of Abandoned Whiteclay Buildings

By: John Axtell Posted at: 04/11/2017 07:34 AM
WHITECLAY, Neb. (AP) -  A $100,000 grant from the state of Nebraska to PADD - the Panhandle Area Development District - means demolition of 2 abandoned buildings in Whiteclay should begin this week and be completed next month.

     PADD executive director Jeff Kelley says a contractor has already been hired and contracts issued for the 2 buildings on opposite ends of the unincorporated village...a brick house on the far south side and a stucco structure on the north near the state line.

      The same crew from Lyman will also fill in the exposed basements of 5 collapsed buildings. One is just north of the brick house and the other 4 are on the same property as the stucco building.

     The two buildings slated for demolition are frequently used by people as a place to drink, so Kelley says the contractor and the Sheridan County Sheriff's Office will carefully check both structures before work begins to make sure no one is there..

       The demolition project is the result of a task force of local residents, officials and business owners convened last year by Gov. Pete Ricketts.

     The group identified the issue of vacant buildings and abandoned basements as problems that could be addressed immediately while long-term decisions are made on the overall issue of alcohol sales in Whiteclay.

    After the task force identified priorities and sent them to the governor, his office worked with Health and Human Services to find funding while PADD developed a scope of work and bid process.  Kelley says demolishing the 2 buildings will open the lots for potential future development.
      The demolition project comes during a flurry of activity surrounding Whiteclay and the 4 beer stores there that sell the equivalent of more than 3.5-million cans of beer a year...nearly all of it to residents of the adjacent Pine Ridge Reservation, where alcohol is banned.

   The Nebraska Liquor Control Commission last week heard more than 9 hours of testimony on whether the licenses of the 4 beer stores should be renewed, with a decision expected around the first of next month.

      Also, the Attorney General's office has filed a laundry list of alleged violations against the stores while in February the Lakota Hope Ministry, a Christian outreach group, announced the start of fundraising for a buyout of the 4 stores, which would then be closed.


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