KENESAW, Neb. – The village of Kenesaw will soon implement a sales tax for its residents to help fund outdated buildings and amenities in the town. 

Kenesaw, Nebraska was founded in 1872 and is home to just under 1,000 residents in Central Nebraska.

The village residents there have passed a 1.5% sales tax initiative to help fund some renovation projects around town like the Kenesaw City Auditorium, which was built in 1934 and has seen no renovations since.

The auditorium used to be the home to community events, youth athletic contests, and the village office. But it’s been dormant for 15 years as the building has fallen into disrepair, and is uninhabitable due to mold and other issues. 

During primary elections this month, the vote to implement the sales tax passed with 58.9% of residents voting in favor of the measure, which will be put on all taxable purchases in Kenesaw.

Renovating the auditorium is one of the village’s top priorities as village officials says the structure is still sound and will last for another 100 years.

Initial numbers estimate the cost of renovating the auditorium could cost around $1.3 million.

"I don't like to see taxes raised myself," said Kenesaw Village Board Chairperson Lawney Knuth. "But when the need arises, then we all have to chip in and help your local community."

Another hot spot in town in need of renovations is the village pool, but officials say it has numerous problems with it including the ground not being ADA accessible, and overall the pool is nearing the end of its lifespan.

"That's a primary spot for the kids in the summertime," said Knuth. "A lot of kids are there every day."

The village pool is expected to see some of the tax revenue for renovations as it approaches its 55th year in service, with its 12-year-old pool liner starting to fail.

This summer, the pool isn't open yet due to a malfunctioning pump motor in the pool, which is expected to keep it closed until June 7.

It's a big spot not only for Kenesaw residents, but from other surrounding areas as well.

"We do have a lot already that come to our pool from Hastings, Juniata, Holstein, and Roseland," said Knuth. "They come here already for the pool setting, and it's not overcrowded."

To also help with project funding, the Kenesaw Community Development Corporation received $5,929 during Give Hastings Day which will mainly go towards the auditorium renovation.

With the vote passed and paperwork to implement the tax now filed, Kenesaw residents can expect to see the extra 1.5% sales tax on their purchases beginning on October 1.