Improvement projects for the Nome-Beltz gym were some of the main beneficiaries of the Norton Sound Economic Development Corporation’s 2020 year-end Community Benefits Share.

NSEDC gave the city of Nome $200,000. Half of that will go to upgrades in the heating and ventilation systems at City Hall while the Nome Common Council awarded the other half of that funding to community youth programs during their regular meeting Monday night. 

The council earmarked just under $25,000 towards the construction of a new concession stand at the high school gym. The new stand would have running water — an option currently unavailable to the student entrepreneurs explained Coach Pat Callahan.

“The COVID thing got me thinking we should be able to wash our hands when we’re working in the concession stand. If you’re not having water that means you can’t do things like soft ice cream, you can’t do pop on the machine where you really make money.”

– Coach Pat Callahan

Student groups of all sorts use the concession stand for fundraising and so for Councilmember Mark Johnson, it’s an investment. 

“They can offer more because they’re setup, which is better for the kids because the kids ultimately get the proceeds. It’s not the schools, the kids program gets the proceeds.

– Councilmember Mark Johnson

Other major beneficiaries included the Nome Community Center and their programs at the Boys and Girls Club, Camp Crave, and the Children’s Home. 

Budget amendments passed with little discussion. The city will be saving $716,000 in the general fund, partially due to personnel vacancies and salaries covered by CARES Act funding. The general fund is now at $12,888,670, down from over $13,600,000.

In a “first” for the Nome Common Council, the meeting was also available on YouTube from which two online viewers gave public comments.

Image at top: Nome-Beltz Jr/Sr High School students perform traditional Native dances and music for members of the Alaska National Guard. Photo from Lt. Col. Candis Olmstead, 2019.