Photo (left to right): Dave Honz, DED; Mayor Jesse Grof; Doug Goracke, director of economic development; Janelle Moran, city clerk.

Nebraska Department of Economic Development recognizes Tecumseh for success in the state’s Leadership Certified Community program.

Efforts in the city of Tecumseh (pop. 1,682) to build local and state economic partnerships have resulted in business expansion, housing and downtown development efforts over the past five years. This week, the Nebraska Department of Economic Development (DED) recognized City leaders for continued success in the state’s Leadership Certified Community (LCC) program. DED Southeast Nebraska Business Development Consultant, Dave Honz, honored the community during a special presentation on February 7.

Tecumseh earned recognition as Nebraska’s first-ever LCC in 2011, when DED created the program 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. City officials earned Tecumseh’s LCC recertification in 2016 and late 2021.

“Tecumseh’s most recent LCC designation rewards the entire community for hard work and diligence, which I have had the opportunity to see firsthand through recent development projects,” said Tecumseh Mayor Jesse Grof. “I am honored to be part of these efforts as residents and City staff continue to work together to achieve the goals we have set into motion.”

Over the past five years, Tecumseh developers have created steady and sustained growth through the City’s Local Option Municipal Development Act (LB840) program. Nebraska communities with voter-approved LB840 programs allow a portion of local tax dollars to help fund economic development projects. Over the past two years, the Tecumseh Development Committee has loaned or granted more than $160,000 in LB840 funds to improve or expand local businesses. The Committee continues to offer a well-established grant program to assist commercial building ownership in repairs and expansion. The City’s LB840 program also provided seed money to facilitate new daycare options for working families, led by volunteer efforts through the Tecumseh Tomorrow’s program.

LB840 funds have additionally assisted in the removal of 48 dilapidated properties in the community. Several of the now-vacant properties have created new housing opportunities, including the sale and construction of six units in the community’s Shawnee Ridge area. Development of four additional properties is planned at the site by Aspen Builders in 2022, which includes the construction of two homes currently underway.

City officials continue to lead housing development efforts in conjunction with the State of Nebraska through federal assistance from the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Owner Occupied Rehabilitation (OOR) program. DED distributes and administers CDBG program funding; the City’s OOR award will assist in the construction of a new housing project this spring.

Local investors and volunteers led efforts in the recent development of Tecumseh’s $3.7 million Aquatic Center. DED’s Civic and Community Center Financing Fund (CCCFF) and the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission also contributed to the project, which was completed in Summer 2021. City leaders say ongoing state and local partnerships continue to play an essential role in Tecumseh’s overall efforts to grow, which have contributed to its continued success in Nebraska’s LCC program.

“Our community greatly appreciates Economic Developer Doug Goracke’s work on the re-certification process for Tecumseh’s LCC designation,” said City Clerk Janelle Moran. “Acquiring this certification affords funding opportunities for the City through DED and has encouraged coordinated local efforts to create a road map for future development projects.”

Tecumseh leaders have prioritized local infrastructure development over the past several years. A U.S Economic Development Assistance (EDA) grant provided $1.3 million for ongoing power plant improvements. The cooling project was implemented to provide a sustainable electric load to better serve Tecumseh’s business and residential communities. A highly anticipated downtown revitalization project, funded by the Nebraska Department of Transportation (NDOT), will include streetscape and infrastructure improvements designed to enhance the appearance and vitality of Tecumseh’s Historic Business District.

Tecumseh’s business community recently celebrated five expansions at Los Primos Mexican Grill, Crossroad Designs floral and gift shop, Remedy clothing boutique, 57Fitness and Smart Chicken. The poultry company invested several million dollars to improve efficiency and volume production at its Tecumseh facility. New owners recently acquired NAPA Auto Parts and Frazier’s Café, and the community will soon welcome a new business, T-Town Restaurant and Spirits.

“As the need for workers, housing and daycare opportunities has continued to grow, the determination of our community has grown with it,” said Development Director Doug Goracke. “Recognition from the State of Nebraska recognizes Tecumseh’s economic efforts and emphasizes the experience fostered from the guidance we received when we were chosen as Nebraska’s first LCC. We appreciate Kelly Gewecke for her unwavering assistance in helping us achieve this goal, which encourages optimism for growth in our community. Tecumseh is beyond excited for the future.”

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