COZAD — A Wisconsin based hotel chain is coming to Cozad and they are building a 54 room hotel.
The Cobblestone Inn is officially coming to Cozad after a collaborative effort between the hotel chain, Cozad Development Corporation, City of Cozad, area banks, local investors, etc.
Cobblestone Inn was founded in 2008 with its first location opening in Clintonville, Wisc., the founder is Brian Wogernese. The brand has expanded to more than 100 locations with 50 more currently in development.
Since the founding, locations have been built in several states including Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming.
Their locations are designed to fill the lodging needs of smaller communities larger hotel chains might not serve, according to Cobblestone’s website.
The Cobblestone Inn to be built in Cozad will be located at 805 York Dr., south of the new Casey’s location, and will feature 54 rooms.
A groundbreaking ceremony was interrupted by rain on Tuesday, Oct. 1 and the festivities were moved to the Cozad Elks Lodge.
CDC president Brian Davis told those assembled about the history of the project and said talking with Cobblestone started back in March 2017 when Robin Geiser was still executive director of the CDC. This project was then championed by the current CDC director Jennifer McKeone.
Support for the project came both from within Cozad and without.
A Pennsylvania would become a lead investor for the project, Tom Kennedy got involved and met with local investors which included Larry Paulsen, Dick Davis, Al Svajgr, Kristen Jack and Matt Burkholder.
Cozad’s banks, Homestead Bank, Security First Bank and Waypoint Bank, were also involved in the project.
Davis also thanked the Cozad city council and Mayor Marcus Kloepping for their support in bringing Cobblestone Inn to the community.
Cobblestone Inn CEO Brian Wogernese spoke as well and thanked everyone in the Cozad community who was a part of the project.
“This would have never happened without your support,” he said, “We have had a lot of success in Nebraska.”
Wogernese said their first Nebraska hotel opened in Wayne and now they have over 100 Cobblestone Inns opened across the country.
The last thing Wogernese did was to present the ceremonial groundbreaking shovel to someone who had played an integral part in the project. To a loud round of applause, he presented it to CDC executive director Jennifer McKeone.
Cozad Chamber of Commerce Director Karmen Morse welcomed Cobblestone Inn to Cozad and thanked them for choosing the 100th Meridian community.
Morse made a presentation to lead investor Tom Kennedy. The 50 State barn quilt display is on full display in Cozad, but the Pennsylvania barn quilt had not been sponsored yet.
The Cozad chamber gave an honorary sponsorship to Kennedy for his home state’s barn quilt, to recognize his and the Cobblestone Inn’s commitment to the Cozad community.
Kennedy then addressed the crowd and spoke about his first experience in Cozad. After being involved in other Cobblestone Inn sites, Kennedy was asked to meet with hotel representatives in Cozad for a lunch meeting with McKeone.
Upon arrival to Bella Italia, Kennedy found the restaurant to be packed with Cozad locals, he soon discovered everyone in the restaurant was there to meet with him and speak about the Cobblestone Inn. He said this first meeting set Cozad aside as special.
In the past there has been a leader in a community who helped to bring hotel projects, like Cozad to fruition and Kennedy said McKeone was the leader for the 100th Meridian.
“It wasn’t ‘if’ with McKeone, but ‘when’ a Cobblestone Inn was coming to Cozad,” Kennedy said.
Construction on the hotel will begin this month and is expected to open sometime in the fall of 2020, said Kennedy.
“You have chosen an excellent hotel brand,” he said, “it can make a huge difference in your community.”
Cozad mayor Marcus Kloepping was the last to speak and brought it to light this Cobblestone Inn would be the first one in Nebraska to be located along the Interstate 80 corridor.
“We want to thank everyone for coming out and we look forward to a long and fruitful relationship,” Kloepping said.