ACE (Public Alliance for Community Energy), the community-owned natural gas supplier, presented Project of the Year awards to two of its member communities at the NMPP Energy Annual Conference March 22 in Lincoln, Neb.
Through its revenue return program, ACE returns funds to its 75 Nebraska member communities. These funds are used by each community for various community betterment projects. Earlier this year, the ACE Board of Directors approved returning $200,000 to its Nebraska member communities. Since forming in 1998, ACE has returned more than $3.5 million to its Nebraska member communities.
Communities submitted project nominations and winners were determined through voting on ACE’s Facebook page. The awards were presented in two community population categories. The following projects were awarded a plaque and $200 to be used toward future community betterment projects:
- City of Sidney Park Project (pop. 1,000 and above) – Local volunteers in conjunction with the City of Sidney raised funds, along with its ACE revenue funds, to build a new playground at Legion Park. The playground was designed to promote inclusion, exposure and exploration through play. The project creates a safe place with playground equipment and ground surfaces allowing all abilities and ages to come together to foster community and play. The project broke ground in April 2022 and was completed in August 2022. The new playground will be enjoyed for many years by the Sidney community.
- City of Blue Hill Infill Lot Workforce House Project (pop. below 1,000) – The City of Blue Hill partnered with its local economic development district (South Central Economic Development District) to build a new house on an infill lot. The City used its ACE revenue funds to purchase the lot and prepare the site for construction. The house was completed in June 2022 and sold immediately. The project helped spur residential construction on infill lots and meet the need for more housing in the community.
Nebraska communities formed ACE to provide competitively priced natural gas while retaining local control and keeping more revenue in Nebraska’s ACE member communities. The 2023 Nebraska Choice Gas program selection period will run from April 6-26.