SIDNEY - The City of Sidney took the first step towards becoming a "Certified Creative District."

City council members approved submitting a letter of intent to the Nebraska Arts Council during their meeting Tuesday night at City Hall.

A creative district, which is more than an art gallery district, is meant to retain and recruit 20- to 30-year-olds to the community. The goal would be to house innovation of all kinds from makers spaces to tech businesses. 

Sidney Economic Development Director Kim Matthews says the idea would be to have a district that the community buys into and grows. An idea she had was to create an "ag tech" community.

"There was a native Nebraskan who had traveled all over the world and was ready to come home," Matthews said. "He converted four downtown buildings that were no longer in use. Now there are two medical tax start-ups, there's office space, there's housing for innovators who want to come and have the mentorship under either tech. They also created film-making studios, production studios and an innovation library."

Creative districts are located in 18 states and are used as drivers of economic development. 

If approved, the city will be awarded a $10,000 grant and be invited to request up to $240,000 the next fiscal year.  

In other council business, City Council members passed a resolution presented by Cheyenne County Chamber President, McKailie Carnahan-Kuhns, to request the use Illinois Street for the annual Parade of Lights on Dec. 3. This year's event will include a visit from Santa Claus, live reindeer, the lighting of the Christmas, hot chocolate and a chili feed from PlainsWest CASA. Anyone interested in joining the parade of lights can contact the chamber by Nov. 22. 

The City Council approved the appointment of Tanya Lewis to serve on the Sidney Public Library Board, filling an unexpired term until Dec. 2022.

Scott McDaniel was reappointed to the Housing Authority Board.