Photo caption: Mayor Doug Young; Stacy Pafford, PCDC Director of Administrative Services; Ron Tillery, PCDC Director; Carley Bruning, PCDC Director of Business Services.
Holdrege once again recognized as Economic Development Certified Community
This week, State of Nebraska officials recognized the City of Holdrege (pop. 5,555) for ongoing leadership in Nebraska’s Economic Development Certified Community (EDCC) program, with City and County officials earning EDCC recertification from the Nebraska Department of Economic Development (DED).
Holdrege was recognized for its ongoing business growth, workforce housing efforts and investment recruitment strategies. DED Business Development Consultant Kelly Gewecke presented the award to members of the Phelps County Development Corporation (PCDC) at the Holdrege City Council meeting on September 3.
Holdrege is one of 40 Nebraska communities to earn EDCC status in the program — which is sponsored by the Nebraska Diplomats and administered by DED — since its establishment by State officials in 2005. EDCC was created to recognize communities for their preparedness to attract new industries and grow existing businesses. Holdrege received its original certification in 2006 and earned recertification in 2009, 2014 and 2019.
Local leaders’ continued support for the Holdrege business community has resulted in a number of multi-million dollar projects within the past several years. A $100 million expansion project at Becton Dickinson and Company (BD) prompted national recognition from Trade and Industry Magazine, winning the CiCi Community Impact Award in 2017. The medical device manufacturing business was one of just 15 U.S. companies honored by the magazine, chosen for its global and local leadership in the manufacturing industry. Since 2010, the company has invested $300 million dollars in its Holdrege facility.
Allmand, Inc./Briggs & Stratton recently announced an $8 million plant expansion at its Holdrege site, made possible in part through state and local investment opportunities. PCDC worked closely with the company to secure more than $500,000 in grant assistance from the Nebraska Department of Transportation and DED. These efforts helped secure the expansion project at the Holdrege facility in a three-state competition, which resulted in 60 additional full time employees.
“State and local partnerships play a pivotal role in Nebraska’s business expansion efforts, and are especially relevant when our communities are competing with other states for economic development projects,” said Nebraska Diplomats President Dan Duncan. “This kind of leadership often develops among economic leaders in our EDCC program, and exemplifies the benefits of doing business in Nebraska.”
Recent efforts to expand the Holdrege-area housing market include a countywide housing study and the creation of the Phelps County Builders Bureau. The group connects local contractors to new construction opportunities, which has resulted in nearly four new bids per month. The community earned more than $500,000 in funding for workforce housing from DED and the Nebraska Investment Finance Authority (NIFA). The grant will create up to 40 workforce housing and living units. In addition, PCDC recruited a developer to invest in Holdrege by constructing an 18-unit, townhome-style apartment complex.
In 2017, the community established a program to attract new residents to the Phelps County housing market. PCDC Executive Director Ron Tillery says the county’s GO! HOME Down Payment Assistance and Renter Relocation program has attracted more than 130 residents in just two years.
“Whether we’re recruiting young professionals, families or retirees to south-central Nebraska, PCDC takes pride in helping establish financial security for those new to our county,” Tillery said. “As they settle in this area, community leaders are doing their part to ensure these residents choose to make the Holdrege area their long-term homes. By doing so, they’re promoting Phelps County’s wonderful quality of life, which comes with our businesses, neighborhoods and schools.”
Over the past five years, PCDC has enhanced efforts to create educational opportunities for area youth. An ongoing partnership with the Phelps County Community Foundation established the High Demand Job Scholarship Program, which encourages career building in local industries. The MidAmerica Economic Development Council honored PDCD as a “Best Marketing Campaign” award winner for online promotion of the program in 2018.
“Online presence often serves as the ‘face’ of a community, and allows an opportunity to make a strong first impression when recruiting new businesses, employees and residents,” said EDCC Director Ashley Rice-Gerlach. “As website development continues as an important piece of Nebraska’s EDCC program, social media platforms are now providing additional ways to showcase our state. Holdrege-area leaders understand that promoting their unique programs, both inside and outside of Nebraska, are signs of progress and vitality within Phelps County.”
For additional information on the Economic Development Certified Community Program, Contact Rice-Gerlach at 308-655-0919 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit https://opportunity.nebraska.gov/program/economic-development-certified-community-edcc/.