The state’s other certified communities include Auburn, Fremont, Grand Island, Holdrege, Norfolk, Ord, and South Sioux City.
The Nebraska Diplomats sponsor the Economic Development Certified Community program along with a number of other development partners. The Nebraska Department of Economic Development administers the program, which provides technical assistance to communities throughout the application process. The program is one of only a few in the nation that recognize communities for economic development preparedness.
“Attainment of the Nebraska Economic Development Certified Community designation spotlights those communities that are prepared for business growth and ready, today, to meet the needs of companies seeking new business and industrial locations. The designation sets them apart as communities that have the leadership and commitment to take the necessary steps to allow them to compete successfully for new jobs and new investment”, said Roger Christianson, Nebraska Diplomats president. “Ogallala, North Platte and Nebraska City are now well positioned to attract new businesses.”
North Platte (pop. 25,000-plus)—continues to experience significant growth in new industry segments, including health and medical, education, retail, tourism, trucking and warehousing/distribution. The city is home to several large industries, including Great Plains Regional Medical Center, Wal-Mart Distribution Center, Crete Carriers, and the North Platte Public School District. Its largest employer is Union Pacific Railroad, which employs nearly 2,800 from North Platte and the surrounding area. Union Pacific’s Bailey Yards is the largest railroad classification yard in North America, and its position in North Platte allows it and the Wal-Mart Distribution Center to readily access markets nationwide.
Nebraska City (pop. 7,200-plus)—is known far and wide for its apple orchards, annual festivals, outlet shopping, museums, Arbor Lodge State Historical Park, and Lied Lodge and Conference Center. In November 2006, residents passed a local economic development incentive package. The city has a strong retail base with new businesses starting in its downtown district and in a new development area on the outskirts of town. American Meter Company expanded operations in its Nebraska City facility, and Cargill Meat Solutions recently added 100 jobs.
Ogallala (pop. 4,600-plus)—offers a tremendous balance of opportunities for new and existing businesses and entrepreneurs in industries that include tourism, manufacturing, high tech, and agriculture. Tourism thrives in the area thanks to the city’s western-themed attractions of Front Street, Mansion on the HIll, Boot Hill, Petrified Wood Gallery, Walk of Fame, and its proximity to Lake McConaughy. City officials estimate an annual draw of 700,000 visitors. A balance of farming, along within the Platte Valley, and ranching in the Sandhills offers diverse agricultural opportunities. Manufacturing and high tech businesses have also made their home in Ogallala, and a new business park, funded 100 percent locally, is ready for occupancy. The city’s work with partnering organizations extends well beyond the county, and includes the I-80 Nebraska Coalition, area development district, Mid-Plains Community College, and Keith County Regional Economic Development Investment Committee.
To qualify for certification, communities must meet certain criteria set out in the application form. The certification process is ongoing and noncompetitive. Communities that exhibit the required documented economic development readiness as specified in the program and approved by a review committee will earn certification. Each applicant is judged against standards that include organization, local industry target identification and workforce issues, infrastructure, local financing and business assistance, building and site availability, and other program parameters.
Information about the Nebraska Economic Development Certified Community program is available at: http://www.neded.org/economic-development-certified-community.
FOR INFORMATION, CONTACT:
Individuals who are hearing and/or speech impaired and have a TDD, may contact the department through the Statewide Relay System by calling one of the following numbers:
711, (800) 833- 7352 (TDD), or (800) 833-0920 (voice).
The relay operator should be asked to call DED at (800) 426-6505, or (402) 471-3111.
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