The Nebraska Department of Economic Development, in partnership with the Nebraska Diplomats, recognized Crete, Neb. (pop.7,247) as one of its newest Economic Development Certified Communities. State officials announced the city’s certification at the 2016 Annual Nebraska Economic Developers Association Conference on Thursday, April 14. The City of Crete earned its initial EDCC certification in February 2016 and joins 37 other Nebraska communities in the state that hold this designation.
The Economic Development Certified Community (EDCC) program, one of only a handful in the nation, is sponsored by the Nebraska Diplomats and administered by the Nebraska Department of Economic Development. The certification indicates that Crete is prepared for business growth and capable of meeting the needs of companies seeking new locations. The Nebraska Diplomats designate qualifying communities through their documentation of economic development readiness by identifying target markets, infrastructure, local financing, and existing site or building information.
“Our community has been focused on efforts that put Crete in a position of opportunity, and becoming an Economic Development Certified Community has been a key goal of our local leaders,” said Crete Mayor Roger Foster. “The Department of Economic Development played a supporting role in helping Crete achieve this certification, and many local businesses, city and educational leaders were committed to this effort over the last three years.”
Efforts from several of the community’s sectors have initiated a variety of new economic projects within the City of Crete. The Crete City Council’s creation of a Community Redevelopment Authority allowed the city to utilize Tax Increment Financing (TIF) following the Authority’s determination of two blighted and substandard districts in the community. The city designated TIF funding for two completed projects and a third is in the process.
Crete continues to benefit from nearly $20 million in ongoing infrastructure improvement projects, including a new wastewater treatment facility and two new bridges. The city’s $1.3 million pool renovation project served as a pilot project following the 2010 passage of LB 840, which prioritized economic development opportunities. Additionally, 20 small businesses have benefitted from the local economic development program.
“The City of Crete’s collaboration with the State of Nebraska to become an EDCC community, and passing LB 840 has resulted in several exciting economic development projects,” said Nebraska Diplomats President Dean Hart. “These kinds of efforts have created economic opportunities and are contributing to a great quality of life to help make Crete a vibrant, growing community.”
Since 2014, the city has completed a housing study, adopted a comprehensive plan, and participated in a labor study that encompassed Saline County. The city also initiated a county historical inventory that led to the downtown district’s nomination to the National Registry of Historical Places. Efforts to create a downtown revitalization project and conduct feasibility studies for a library and convention center are currently underway.
City Administrator Tom Ourada emphasized the importance of Crete’s EDCC designation for continued efforts in economic growth. “We have plans and active projects in every corner of our community,” Ourada said. “Being an Economic Development Certified Community does nothing but enhance and improve our ability to maximize our opportunities.”
Contact Lynn Kohout at 402-440-2559, or firstname.lastname@example.org , or visit https://opportunity.nebraska.gov/economic-development-certified-community for additional information on the Economic Development Certified Community Program.