Falls City recertified for five more years

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Falls City recertified for five more years

Falls City, Neb., has earned recertification in the Nebraska Economic Development Certified Community Program for another five years. The program is sponsored by the Nebraska Diplomats and administered by the Nebraska Department of Economic Development (DED).

Falls City (pop. 4,300) has been very active since first earning its certification designation in 2009.

“It’s exciting to see all the tremendous development that’s taken place in Falls City since the community endeavored to first become certified,” said Nebraska Diplomats President Dan Shundoff. “Given their laser focus on and commitment to growing their community, it will be fun to see just how far they take it during the next five years.”

The city’s EDGE business retention and expansion program (which includes yearly corporate headquarter visits) helped grow the area’s industrial base through projects that included:

  • A multi-million-dollar, three-plus-mile track expansion for Herzog Railroad Services, Inc., that has enabled the company to store and switch out approximately 425 cars, and doubled its storage capabilities.
  • Airlanco’s acquisition of a 17,700 sq. ft. research and development building, addition of a new second work shift, and hiring of 17 new employees, bringing the current workforce to 92. Airlanco, a division of AG Growth International, specializes in aeration, airauger, filtration, pneumatic conveying, and replacement parts manufacturing.
  • WASP, Inc.’s employment growth from 33 in 2010 to 92 today with more growth on the horizon. WASP bills itself as the world’s largest non-powered ground support equipment manufacturer for airlines, ground handling and cargo companies.
  • Vantec’s 40,000 sq. ft. facility in Falls City, capable of holding 20 injection molding presses and doubling in size to 80,000-sq.-ft., operates 24-7 to keep up with client demand.
  • A local industry, Ames True Temper, plans to invest millions of dollars in equipment upgrade and infrastructure improvements in 2014.

Falls City’s EDGE program also has been a catalyst for new development in Richardson County throughout the past five years, with more than $250 million in projects spanning industrial growth, workforce development, housing, infrastructure improvement, and business retention and expansion.

“EDGE investors and the leadership in our community have been critical to the progress we’ve made over these past five years,” said Bar Keller, EDGE president. “Falls City/Richardson County is well positioned for continued success, and with sustained collaboration and action, we will create the most powerful, long-lasting, generational change. EDGE is proud to serve as a catalyst for development in this region.”

Falls City EDGE Vice President of Marketing and Sales Kevin Malone said, “Falls City EDGE has played a major role in sowing the seeds of change by helping to secure key strategic investments and partnerships, fostering the expansion of local businesses, attracting new business and investment, and preparing the region for future growth. We are seeing real dividends and with the positive environment we are operating in, we believe anything is possible.”

The City’s newest industry, Consolidated Grain and Barge (CGB) opened in September 2013. The project included significant infrastructure upgrades, including water, sewer, gas, electric, rail and highway access. CGB invested $25 million-plus in this site, which offers room for expansion for additional business investments.

Falls City collaborated with regional partners to secure federal and state funding for improving infrastructure related to enhancing connectivity to Interstate 29, including a new, expanded Missouri River bridge at Rulo. Approximately $32 million was invested in this project, which opened to traffic September 2013.

Communities exhibiting economic development readiness are eligible to earn certification once approved by a review committee. Communities are judged against standards including organization, local industry target identification and workforce issues, infrastructure, local financing and business assistance, as well as child care. For more information on the Economic Development Certified Communities program contact Andrea McClintic at andrea.mcclintic@nebraska.gov or 308-440-1490 or visit http://staging.neded.org/economic-development-certified-community.

CONTACT Kate Ellingson at 800-426-6505, 402-471-3749, or kate.ellingson@nebraska.gov