Central City continues status as Nebraska Leadership Certified Community.   

Central City, Neb. (pop. 3,016) has earned continued recognition from the State of Nebraska for ongoing economic development efforts between local, regional and state partners. Last week, the Nebraska Department of Economic Development (DED) announced the city’s recertification in Nebraska’s Leadership Certified Community (LCC) program. DED Business Development Consultant and LCC Program Coordinator Kelly Gewecke honored local officials during a special presentation at the Merrick County Development Corporation (MCDC) board meeting on Friday, November 1.

Central City is one of 26 Nebraska communities to qualify for DED’s LCC program, created in 2011 to help villages and municipalities adapt to ongoing changes and opportunities in economic development. Certified communities must demonstrate an understanding for and preparedness in strategic planning, and display readiness in technological development to help new and existing businesses grow. Qualifying LCCs earn status in the program for five years and are required to maintain community websites to market local development, which may include information on available sites and buildings and regional employment opportunities.

“In Central City, we understand that highlighting our region’s valuable assets is a cornerstone of DED’s Leadership Certified Community program,” said Central City Economic Development Director Miles McGinnis. “Utilizing Nebraska’s site selection network, Location One, remains an important marketing tool on Central City’s official website. Our community’s online presence has evolved since our original LCC designation in 2014, and we look forward to creating additional opportunities for growth within this program.”

Growing investments from local leaders and community supporters led to Merrick Medical Center’s recent announcement to build a $20 million, 42,000 square foot hospital in Central City. Area stakeholders recently exceeded a $5 million fundraising goal by $93,000. The Bryan Health-affiliated facility will be constructed on the newly named Dinsdale Health Campus. In June, the Dinsdale family gifted 22 acres of land to the community for the upcoming project.

“Our quality of life and the strength of our businesses go hand in hand in Nebraska, and accessible and affordable health care plays an important role in the viability of our communities,” said LCC Program Coordinator Kelly Gewecke. “These recent investments are a great example of Central City’s commitment to grow.”

Over the past five years, MCDC has strengthened relationships with local leaders in economic development, including the Central City Area Chamber of Commerce and the Merrick Foundation. All three agencies support a business incubator to assist local entrepreneurs and startups. In addition, the team provides assistance for succession planning for existing business owners.

The community also relies on regional, state and federal partnerships with the South Central Economic Development District (SCEDD), DED and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to establish economic development opportunities. The Merrick County Entertainment Corporation recently utilized local investments and USDA Rural Economic Development Loan and Grant program funding to build the Widman Cinema twin theater in Central City.

“Our working relationship with these agencies, and DED, have always been critical to our economic development success,” said Central City Administrator Chris Anderson. “We appreciate structured programs, including the LCC program, to focus our efforts and facilitate cooperation. These great partnerships continue to keep Central City moving forward.”

For information about the Leadership Certified Community program, contact Gewecke at or 308-627-3151; or, visit