NEW Rodeo Parade Route — June 11, 2020

The date of the annual rodeo parade is almost here – Saturday, July 27! Parade entry forms are available at the Chamber office and can be mailed/emailed as requested. This is an opportunity for families, businesses, churches and local organizations to show their spirit and support for the Burwell community and historical rodeo. This year’s parade theme is “Stirrup Some Fun at Nebraska’s Big Rodeo.” Line-up for the parade will start at 8:00 AM at the Burwell City Park (7th Avenue entrance), with the parade starting at 10:00 AM. Those wanting to be judged must be lined up by 9:00 AM. PARADE ROUTE NOTE: This year, the parade route has been changed/extended for several more blocks to end just past the new Community Memorial Health Center on F Street. As in previous years, the parade route starts at the 8th Avenue park entrance and continues south on 8th to Grand Avenue and then clockwise around three-quarters of the downtown Burwell square (new direction), exiting on east G Street, heading north on 9th Avenue, and then west on F Street until 11th Avenue. A map of the new parade route is available at the Chamber office or by clicking on the map image below.



A ground-breaking event to commemorate the start of the project to build Burwell’s new community/conference/event center will take place at the Fairgrounds in Burwell on Saturday, July 27 at 12:00 pm. Nebraska Governor, Pete Ricketts is scheduled to help with the ceremony – along with other state and local leaders – and everyone is invited! Efforts have been underway for a number of years to develop a community center in Burwell. The planned structure will facilitate local and regional meetings and events, feature a permanent rodeo history exhibit, and attract additional visitors to the community. Previous community input has determined the features of the City’s new facility, to be located at the Fairgrounds, supported by a cooperative agreement between the City of Burwell and the Garfield County Frontier Fair Association. Existing funding from a previous grant and many individual donations will build the facility exterior – with construction to start within the new few months. Additional funding is needed to help finish the interior of the facility, and those wishing to contribute can do so as shown below. All recorded donations to help build the new community center will be formally recognized in the entry area of the facility (unless otherwise requested).

Tax-Deductible Charitable Gifts

  • Mailed to the Calamus Area Community Fund’s “Calamus Community Center Account,” P.O. Box 901, Burwell, NE 68823,
  • Dropped off at the Burwell Economic Development/Chamber of Commerce Office (404 Grand Avenue, Burwell),
  • Submitted online at , and then selecting “Calamus Community Center.”

Non-Cash Tax-Deductible Charitable Gifts

  • Contact the Burwell Economic Development Office (308-346-5210) to discuss needs for qualified building materials, fixtures, equipment, in-kind labor, etc., and how such contributions can qualify as tax-deductible.

Additional Information

  • A presentation PDF about the facility, “Calamus Conference Center,” is available by clicking on the image above.


In December the Burwell Chamber of Commerce helped facilitate a Pancake Feed and Gingerbread House Contest to help raise funds for the Calamus Area Community Fund’s Endowment. On February 4, 2020, the Chamber presented a check for $2,121.41 from the fundraising event proceeds to Community Fund representatives, all made possible by event sponsors (Ag West Feeds, Burwell Dental Clinic, Burwell Feeders, Cabin Realty & Ag Services, Thoene Farm Service) and community members that came together for the event on a cold Saturday morning! Pictured left to right: Derek Snyder and Stacie Roblyer (Community Fund), David Sawyer (Chamber), Dan Bird (Community Fund)


New Council 12-11-18
Burwell Mayor, Jim Roblyer (center), administers the oath of office for re-elected council member Jeremy Zulkoski (left) and new council member Jeff Anderson, during City Council Meeting on December 11, 2020. Appreciation for years of service was also expressed to retiring council member, Bob Lee.

CITY ELECTRIC LINEMAN/FOREMAN OPENING (9-12-18) — [position filled]

Electrical Lineman/Foreman – Full-Time

The City of Burwell, NE is accepting applications for a full-time Electrical Lineman/Foreman. Applicants must be a U.S. citizen and possess a valid driver’s license with the ability to attain CDL within six months of hire.  Benefits include vacation, sick time, retirement, family medical and holidays. Salary is negotiable based upon experience and qualifications. Interested candidates should contact the City Office at 404 Grand Avenue (P.O. Box 604), Burwell, NE 68823 or phone 308-346-4509. The following links, City Electric Lineman Description and Employment Application, are viewable/printable as needed. A completed application along with a cover letter and resume should be mailed or delivered to the city office address above or emailed to and will be accepted until the position is filled. The City of Burwell is an EOE.


CITY ADMINISTRATOR OPENING (4-24-18) — [position filled]

Due to retirement, the City of Burwell is accepting applications for the position of City Administrator. The City of Burwell is the county seat of Garfield County and has approximately 1,200 residents. Burwell is located seven miles from the Calamus Reservoir in Central Nebraska. The municipality owns, operates and provides electric, water and wastewater services to its residents. Law Enforcement is under the direction of the Mayor. This position requires comprehensive knowledge of municipal finance, expertise in city, state and federal laws, regulations and guidelines, strategic planning, and supervisory skills. Individuals should possess a degree in a related field and/or possess a level of education that together with experience and training gives the required knowledge and experience to perform the duties as City Administrator. This person serves the community at the direction of the Mayor and City Council. Salary is negotiable based on experience and qualifications and includes competitive benefits. Interested candidates should contact the City Office at 404 Grand Avenue (P.O. Box 604), Burwell, NE 68823 or phone 308-346-4509. The following links, City Administrator Position Description and Employment Application, are viewable/printable as needed. A completed application, along with a cover letter and resume, should be mailed or delivered to the city office address above or emailed to, and will be accepted until the position is filled. The City of Burwell is an EOE.


Conf Ctr Pres Cover

Efforts have been underway for a number of years to develop a community/conference center in Burwell. The center will facilitate local and regional meetings/events, exhibit rodeo history memorabilia, and attract additional visitors to our community. Previous community input has determined the features of the proposed new facility, and these concept details were presented during a Burwell Community Open House Event on April 3, 2020. More than 120 attended the open house and provided feedback regarding the concepts presented. Additional information about the proposed community/conference center is available by contacting the City of Burwell Economic Development Office at 308-346-5210, or via email at



Submitted by David Sawyer – Director, Burwell Economic Development
September 22, 2020

In July, a survey was mailed to all Burwell area residents regarding the proposed new community/conference center – which has been discussed for several years. The survey objective was to collect input from as many as possible to confirm that plans for a new center meet the needs and expectations of the community. Almost 300 surveys were returned, meaning that the number of responses exceeded the level required to consider the results statistically valid or representative of the entire community. Therefore, the community/conference center planning committee, and other community stakeholders, can rely on the input from the survey as a significant factor as center features/plans are considered and developed. This article presents the highlights of community/conference center results, and outlines the next development steps. The complete survey result details are available at the Burwell economic development office.

The majority of survey respondents (88%) were positive about a proposed new community/conference center. The general conclusions that can be summarized from the survey responses are reflected in the following categories.


According to survey responses, the types of activities a new community/conference center should be able to accommodate are ranked below.

Very Important
1. Wedding receptions
2. Community social events
3. Catered parties/events
4. Family reunions
5. Community meetings
6. Graduation parties
7. Business meetings
8. Large group conferences

Important – Neutral
1. Dances
2. Small committee/board meetings
3. Trade show exhibits
4. Auctions
5. Concerts
6. Rodeo history exhibit
7. Visitor information center
8. Theatrical plays/productions

Less Important
1. Youth basketball practices
2. Legion Club meeting area
3. Youth volleyball practices
4. County fair exhibits


Based upon the survey responses, the primary features that appear to be required for the new community/conference center are summarized below.

1. Large/open meeting area (to accommodate up to 400 people)
2. Basic kitchen (as opposed to full-service kitchen)

1. Smaller meeting/board room
2. Large entrance door (to accommodate large equipment)
3. Rodeo history exhibit
4. Visitor information center

Optional – Not Required
1. Divider for large meeting area
2. Practice sports court
3. Permanent stage
4. Legion Club area


Concerning how large the facility needs to be, the majority indicated that the center should be able to accommodate about 400 people, although thirty-two percent indicated that the center should hold more than 400 people.


Preferred locations for a new community/conference center are shown below, in order of preference. The top two choices were selected by 57% of survey respondents, and another 34% indicated a desire for another location or wrote in specific suggestions – such as the third location reflected below.

Top Locations
1. Industrial park area
2. Garfield County Fairgrounds
3. Southwest corner of L Street and Highways 11/91


If possible, the project committee’s intention is to avoid financing to fund the new community/conference center. However, in response to the survey question about whether or not the city should consider borrowing some portion of the funds to build the new facility if needed, more than two-thirds (72%) indicated that they would consider supporting an initiative to finance a portion of the project in order to make the facility become a reality for the community.


A number of misconceptions were expressed in the comments sections of the survey responses. Some of the misconceptions are addressed in this article in order to help the community better understand the potential community/conference center project, and other related topics. Below are some of misconceptions, followed by simple responses in italics.

o Survey Comment: “The population of the community is declining – why invest in a shrinking town?”
Actually, the population of Burwell and Garfield County grew more than 7% in the last census, and the trend appears to be continuing.

o Survey Comment: “The center size should be limited, as it only needs to accommodate local residents.”
Actually, while the center will certainly facilitate local activities, it is expected that larger groups – many from outside the community – will also utilize the center. Groups previously wanting to visit the Burwell area to enjoy our unique natural resources and hold various types of meetings/events, are often too large or otherwise not able to utilize one of our existing facilities.

o Survey Comment: “A new center would not enhance business.”
Actually, as the center brings in events/groups from out of town, businesses/jobs will be positively impacted. Additionally, locals currently going elsewhere to hold large events, will be more inclined to stay/buy in town.

o Survey Comment: “The city loaned the movie theater money to purchase the new digital system required to re-open the facility. If that were paid back, that could help fund the new center.”
Actually, the city did not loan the movie theater any money.

o Survey Comment: “If the center is located at the fairgrounds or the industrial park, the city will not benefit, as the center will be located out of the city limits.”
Actually, even if the center is located out of the city limits, the additional visitors attracted to the center as a new event destination will still benefit the local economy.

o “The community should not decide to move the Legion Club – it’s their decision.”
Agreed. The survey question regarding the Legion Club was only presented to determine if the community thought it would be good to plan additional space to accommodate the Legion Club IF they decided to take advantage of being in the new facility – as has been done in other communities.

o Survey Comment: “Locals will not pay to use a new center.”
Actually, locals pay to use existing smaller facilities now, and many have expressed a willingness or eagerness to pay to utilize a newer/larger facility if available.

o Survey Comment: “Taxpayers will be paying to build a privately owned facility.”
Actually, the center will be publicly owned/operated.

o Survey Comment: “The center would only benefit investors and not community businesses.”
Actually, there are no private investors that will earn a return on this public facility. Community businesses will benefit from increased visitors.


Overall, the survey results appear to be fairly representative of the feelings of area citizens regarding the concept for a new community/conference center. While some concerns were expressed, the largest number of survey responders were positive and supportive of moving forward on the project. The survey responses provide the project committee, as well as local government officials and citizens, valuable input with which to make future decisions regarding the direction of the proposed new facility.

The next steps to move forward are included in the list below.

Next Steps
1. Review survey report and refine project definitions.
2. Review list of individuals offering to serve on the various project committees, contact, and set-up committees as needed.
3. Determine if additional communications are needed to present the survey results.
4. Pursue discussions with property owners of top potential facility sites, including determining the feasibility/timing of expanding the city limits to include the two top sites (fairgrounds, industrial park), as the facility needs to be in the city limits in order to qualify for most funding options.
5. Commit to one location for the new facility.
6. Develop high-level facility project specifications, including prioritized features (based on survey input).
7. Provide facility project specifications to at least three developer/engineer/contractor firms and request high-level proposals that will include their expertise, past projects, recommended square feet for stated needs, approximate cost per square foot, and process suggestions.
8. Select one developer/engineer/contractor firm and enter into an agreement to develop concepts and related cost estimates for consideration.
9. Hold public meetings to present new facility concepts and encourage support.
10. Pursue various funding sources and support fundraising activities (including major focus of this year’s Fall Festival – A Time for Giving campaign, October 23-24, sponsored by the Burwell Community Fund).
11. Start project work, based on agreed upon reasonable percentage of project funds confirmed, utilizing local contractors, volunteers, and in-kind and material donations as much as possible.

Those wanting additional information regarding the survey results, or the overall community/conference center project, can contact David Sawyer at the Burwell economic development office at 308-346-5210. A copy of the detailed survey results report is attached here as a PDF document, and is available at the economic development office, located at 404 Grand Avenue in downtown Burwell.



Below are the results of the City of Burwell’s election propositions relative to economic development, and the city sales tax change to help fund city improvements.

Proposition 1 — for Economic Development Program Renewal — Yes 67% (approved).

Proposition 2 — for 1.5% Local Option Sales Tax for Economic Development and City Infrastructure Improvements (L Street) — Yes 59% (approved).

The sales tax rate change (one-half of one percent increase) will take place beginning in January 2015. Information regarding implementation details will be provided to Burwell retail businesses soon. Additional results for all of the election ballot items is available at the following web address (copy/paste into browser):