Pictured- North Platte Mayor Brandon Kelliher accepts the Governor’s Showcase Community of the Year award along with City Council members seated: (left to right) Council President Jim Nisley, Donna Tryon, Pete Volz, Ty Lucas, Mayor Kelliher, City Administrator Matt Kibbon, Brad Garrick and Ed Rieker. Standing on left side is the North Platte Area Chamber and Development Corp. exec team: Gary Person, President and CEO; Dr. Rich Raska, immediate past chair; Brandon Jones, vice-chairman; Leland Poppe, finance chairman and Josh Harm, board chairman. Right side: Chris Bruns, Lincoln County Commissioner; Brent Burklund City Engineer; Marilyn McGahan, Planning Commission Chairman; Sarah Talbott, Downtown Association President; and Judy Clark, City & County Planning and Zoning Director.
This week, Governor Pete Ricketts signed a proclamation declaring April 5-9, 2021, as Community Development Week (CD Week) in the state of Nebraska. The Gov. also named the City of North Platte as the recipient of 2021’s “Governor’s Showcase Community Award” for outstanding achievements in economic development and the impactful use of state and federal funds.
“The community of North Platte has successfully created opportunities for businesses to grow and for residents to enhance their quality of life,” said Governor Ricketts. “Programs like the Community Development Block Grant and HOME Investment Partnerships are helping cities throughout Nebraska pursue their goals. Congratulations to North Platte for winning this year’s Showcase Award. Thanks to communities across our state for your dedication to making the Good Life even better for families in Nebraska.”
Modeled on National Community Development Week, CD Week in Nebraska is about celebrating the economic development success stories happening around the state year-in and year-out. It’s also about recognizing the important contribution of state and federal resources — such as the federal Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) and HOME Investment Partnerships (HOME) programs — towards community accomplishments.
“North Platte is a shining example of what can be achieved at the local level when you approach economic development with a spirit of proactivity, an all-hands-on-deck mentality and the ability to leverage available resources,” said Nebraska Department of Economic Development Director Anthony L. Goins. “Congratulations are due to the entire community for what they have been able to achieve, and for what’s on the horizon.”
Each year leading up to CD Week, DED accepts nominations for the Showcase Community Award on the basis of economic development excellence and locals’ successful leveraging of CDBG, HOME and other resources over a five year-period. The selected Showcase Community is then approved by Gov. Ricketts and announced during the annual celebration.
This year’s awardee, North Platte, showcases an extensive list of past, present and currently underway projects that are sparking new energy, opportunity and pride throughout the community while creating a flurry of excitement for things to come.
“Being honored by the Governor as this year’s Showcase Community is beyond anything we hoped for when we set out to revitalize North Platte through our five-year economic development plan,” said Mayor Brandon Kelliher. “This award is validating of the hard work of countless individuals, groups and citizens that banded together to make our accomplishments possible. There’s incredible enthusiasm for the future, and this recognition puts even more wind in our sails.”
A major revitalization of the downtown district; new workforce housing development through a successful “Shot in the Arm” initiative; the expansion of the local hospital and medical services system; the planned redevelopment of a former mall into a retail and entertainment district unlike anything previously seen in the community; and a bevy of major business developments, including a new industrial rail park and a proposed beef processing plant spearheaded by local and Nebraska ag producers — both of which are projected to add significantly to the local economy — are just a few of the achievements that have locals abuzz with optimism and anticipation.
“It’s amazing how much progress we’ve made as a community in the past five years alone, and even more amazing to think of what’s ahead,” said North Platte Chamber and Development Corporation President and CEO Gary Person. “We’re talking about potential game-changers for the future of North Platte.”
“If we don’t believe in our community,” he added, “if we’re not the ones out there making it emerge into something different and more exciting, and building toward the future, nobody else from the outside is going to look at us and believe otherwise. Programs like CDBG and Nebraska’s Rural Workforce Housing Fund — I call them great partnership programs — are a catalyst for making things happen. Once people see the progress being made, they find confidence in themselves, confidence in their community, and can believe anything’s possible.”
Click here to download this year’s Community Development Week “Investments and Impacts” brochure, featuring economic development success stories from around the state.
To learn more about the CDBG, HOME and other State-administered economic development programs, visit opportunity.nebraska.gov.