(left to right): Jonathan Jank, Seward County Chamber & Development Partnership; Betsy Samuelson, SENND; Deb Eggleston, DED; Milford Mayor Patrick Kelley; Rick Nelsen, NPPD

Milford is Nebraska’s 26th community to be recognized as a Leadership Certified Community

The Nebraska Department of Economic Development (DED) has announced the City of Milford (pop. 2,112) as its newest Leadership Certified Community (LCC). This week, the State of Nebraska recognized the community for supporting economic development initiatives and downtown revitalization. DED Business Development Consultant Deb Eggleston honored local leaders during Milford’s City Council meeting on Tuesday, January 8.

Milford is Nebraska’s 26th community to qualify for DED’s LCC program, created in 2011 to help Nebraska communities adapt to ongoing changes and opportunities in economic development. Qualifying communities must demonstrate an understanding for and preparedness in strategic and community planning, as well as display readiness in technological development to help new and existing businesses grow. Certified communities earn designation in the program for five years, and are required to update and maintain information and websites.

“The City of Milford is extremely excited to receive the distinguished Leadership Certified Community award from the Nebraska Department of Economic Development,” Milford Mayor Patrick Kelley said. “With the aid of Seward County Chamber & Development Partnership (SCCDP), Nebraska Public Power District (NPPD) and Southeast Nebraska Development District (SENDD), we have taken great strides to position ourselves in advancing our community for future viability. We thank the Nebraska Department of Economic Development for the recognition and the opportunities that follow.”

“Communities that rely on their resource providers for help and guidance are able to accomplish things more effectively,” Eggleston added. “It takes a village and then some to accomplish progressive growth.”

Milford leaders continue to utilize a locally-supported economic development tool to build and expand community businesses. Over the past five years, the city’s LB840 program contributed to multiple building renovations, existing business expansions and job creation and retention within Milford’s workforce. In addition, economic development officials recruited a telecommunications company to build fiber optic in Milford’s downtown district. In 2018, voters renewed the city’s LB840 program.

Area leaders say local and county-wide partnerships exemplify efforts to grow business communities in southeast Nebraska.

Betsy Samuelson serves as a Community Development Specialist for the Southeast Nebraska Development District.

“The Leadership Certified Community application process encourages communities to dig deep and take a close look at their resources and capacities,” Samuelson said. “The process of putting the application together fosters collaboration and strengthens connections across communities and organizations.”

Additional efforts to support a successful pipeline between area students and employers continue to grow. Southeast Community College is currently building new residence halls and diesel technology facilities on its Milford Campus. School officials continue to explore the implementation of new programs to better support the region’s workforce.

City leaders say Milford’s LCC distinction will continue to position their community for economic growth.

“Receiving the Leadership Certified Community award is a testament to the City of Milford and the engaged citizens who work every day to promote and support their hometown,” said former Milford City Councilman Jeff Baker. “This distinguished designation will assist the city in its future efforts in cultivating sustainable growth and improving the quality of life for every person who has the opportunity to call Milford their home.”

For additional information about the Leadership Certified Community (LCC) program, contact Kelly Gewecke at or 308-627-3151, or visit