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Free Lots In Loomis Are All Spoken For
posted by PCDC on 4/25/2014

By Stuart Osborn, Bertrand Herald Reporter

In the spring of 2008, the Village of Loomis joined a growing number of small communities in central Nebraska in offering home lots for next to nothing in order to attract new residents.

Now, six years later, three of the four lots originally offered by the Village of Loomis have been spoken for. One home has been completed and occupied and excavation work begun on a second. Excavation on the third lot is expected to begin next week. The village did extensive prep work on the lots when they were first offered. The lots are located in what has been designated as the "North Park Addition" north of the village park. They were reclaimed from the virtually unused north end of the park.

They are a block from the business district and four blocks from the school. Residential properties are on the east and west and the Highway 23 right-of-way is to the north.

When the project was undertaken, the city spent nearly $8,000 to remove some of the trees on the lots, fill and level the area, seed it and reroute a small creek that used to run through the middle of the tract. The village estimated it would spend about $750 for each lot to remove up to three more trees and also bring village water service to the lot line. Providing sewer, electric, and natural gas service to the properties remains the burden of the developer.

Originally, the parcel included four lots, each 130' x 170', but according to Loomis Village Clerk / Treasurer Terry Nelson, the village has decided to use the fourth and northernmost lot as an entrance area to the addition and to the park.

"That north lot wasn't so good," he said, "So we decided to make it a more scenic entrance to the addition by adding some trees and landscaping and such."

He said the village could offer the same kind of deal in other areas of town. "There are two or three other good lots in town and we could buy them and do the same offer with them," he said.

The lots were offered to potential home builders at a cost of just one dollar, plus a deposit of $2,500 which is refunded to the owner / builder if the dwelling is completed within 18 months.

Nelson pointed out, "The covenants call for the developers to construct a house of at least 1,200 square feet with an attached garage and a basement."

He added that if someone were to build on a "traditional" lot purchased privately, the cost for such a venture could easily exceed $7,500. He noted that similar-sized lots in Holdrege were selling in the $35,000 - $40,000 range.

Low-cost land opportunities such as the one in Loomis have been offered in Eustis, Elwood, and Ravenna as a way to attract new residents to those communities.

"We had one lot spoken for right after we offered them," said Nelson.

That first lot was taken by Loomis native Drew Billeter and his wife, Whitney, who now occupy the home with their two small children. Brett and Samantha Buettner of Holdrege claimed the second lot and excavation on digging the basement was begun last week. The Buettners have one young child and another on the way. A Third lot has been spoken for by Jason and Lindsay Hays of Holdrege and their two youngsters.

Nelson said, "Since they're all young couples with preschool-age children, it's a win-win situation for the village and it's a win-win situation for our school."

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Loomis - Deep roots in the high plains

You can tell a lot about Loomis from the way people turn out to volunteer. When teens wanted a youth center, they came out in force - with some adult supervision - and created their own space, the In-Zone, in a downtown storefront. A community center was built and largely paid for by volunteers.

A new school addition has a state-of-the-art media center, shop, wrestling room and weight room as well as additional classrooms. The school district grew by 11% through open-option enrollment because of its reputation for providing a quality education. The student-teacher ratio remains low, and virtually all of the town's graduates go on to some form of higher education.

If you're looking for a town that you - and your family - can be proud of, Loomis may be just the place for you.

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