City launches creative district survey

The City of Hastings and Business Improvement District have created a survey to gather feedback and measure Hastings citizens’ perceptions of art and cultural events in Downtown Hastings from a diverse audience, focusing on accessibility and representation. 

The survey is part of the application process to establish the Heartbeat Creative District with a footprint that largely includes downtown Hastings.

To take the survey, or learn more about the Heartbeat Creative District, go to 

Physical copies will be available in English and Spanish at the following locations:

  • Hastings Public Library, 314 N. Denver Ave.
  • City of Hastings Development Services Office, 3505 Yost Ave. 
  • City of Hastings Administrative Department, Landmark Center, 2727 W. Second St. Suite 424
  • Hastings Museum, 1330 N. Burlington Ave.
  • Frahm Bar, 647 W. Second St.
  • Bryant Books & Music, 625 W. Second St.
  • United Way, 301 S. Burlington Ave.
  • Hastings Area Chamber of Commerce, 301 S. Burlington Ave.
  • First Street Brewing Company, 119 N. St. Joseph Ave.
  • Calico Cottage/Blu J Scrapbooking/Julie's Xpressions/The Plum Nelly, 743 W. Second St.
  • What the Dickens, 537 W. Second St.

“This survey is a tool to help make sure everyone has an opportunity to be heard,” said Ember Batelaan, City Planner for the City of Hastings. “The findings will help complete the third step in the Creative District application process—a strategic plan.” 

Creative Districts are designated areas that focus on funding for art and creativity. In Nebraska, creative districts are set by the Nebraska Arts Council. 

These findings will be used for the development of goals and actions for the strategic plan as well for justification for future decisions and focusing funding areas. 

The survey aims to gather valuable insights into the impact of downtown's art and cultural events on attendees' experiences and perceptions. 

It delves into attendees' satisfaction levels, experiences, and suggestions for improvement, aiming to understand how these events contribute to daily life in Hastings. 

Additionally, the survey explores the motivations behind visiting downtown, gauges respondents' feelings of welcome, and assesses their awareness of the diverse art offerings within the downtown area. 

The survey includes around 20 questions, depending on how some questions are answered. 

The survey will be open throughout the month of May. The open period may be extended if more feedback is needed.  

Initial steps in the application process have included an extensive application and site visit. The application included gathering census data and identification of assets in the community as well as proving Hastings’ potential as a Nebraska creative hub. 

Members of the Partners Undertaking Local Solutions for Expressions (PULSE) team have been deliberately working on this application for over a year with the intent of finishing by October, 2024. 

The creative district process establishes funding opportunities and support specifically for arts and culture in communities. These grants will support existing art and cultural efforts as well as create new opportunities in the downtown area for all Hastings citizens.

Grant funding levels accessible through the creative district process include a $10,000 Creative District Certification Grant and $250,000 Creative District Development Grant, plus civic and community center financing fund made possible through a city application with the Creative District partnership. 

Funding can be used for new efforts and opportunities for growth. Funding can also help sustain current efforts.

“It’s nice there’s a lot of flexibility with these funds,” Batelaan said.

The program provides a network of certified creative districts across the state. There are currently 29 certified creative districts in Nebraska.

Public involvement will ensure that the strategic plan’s goals and actions are in line with the community’s wants and needs and is intended to capture unheard/minority voices. 

Joining the PULSE team gives members of the public an opportunity to stay informed, give their opinions on the project, and work on the strategic plan. After certification, the PULSE team will be involved in ensuring the sustainability of the district. 

Published Date: 04/30/2024

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