Grand Island, Neb. is recertified through 2020

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Grand Island, Neb. is recertified through 2020

Grand Island, Neb. (pop. 50,550), has earned its recertification in the Nebraska Economic Development Certified Community Program. The city was originally certified in September 2006.

The program is sponsored by the Nebraska Diplomats and administered by the Nebraska Department of Economic Development (DED). Designation as a Nebraska Economic Development Certified Community indicates that Grand Island is prepared for business growth and ready to meet the needs of companies seeking new business and industrial locations.

“‘Robust’ is a word that describes Grand Island through and through, from its stellar record of recruiting and expanding companies and adding jobs to its impressive population growth, ” said Annette Wiles, Nebraska Diplomats President. “The Diplomats are pleased to recertify Grand Island and to continue following its exciting growth and development for years to come.”

“As the mayor of Grand Island, I take great pride in Grand Island being recertified as an Economic Development Certified Community,” said Mayor Jeremy Jensen. “Although Grand Island has so many things that make it a great community to live in, economic development is one of the mainstays giving our community the fortitude needed to continue growing in diversity of industries and population.”

“Grand Island getting recertified again as an Economic Development Certified Community shows our community’s commitment to the continued development of new industry, expansion of current businesses, support of the local agricultural economy, and the creation of jobs,” said Marlan Ferguson, Grand Island City Administrator. “The revenue provided by economic development supports, maintains, and improves our local infrastructure for such things as streets, parks, the library, and emergency services, which are important to all of our citizens.”

During the past ten years, Grand Island weathered the recession better than many communities throughout the U.S. Hall County added nearly 4,400 jobs between 2003 and 2013, with employment expanding by 3.6 percent between 2008 and 2013, a five-year period that correlated with the national recession and subsequent recovery.

Between 2008 and 2013, Hall County captured 36 percent of all job growth across the state.

“The Grand Island Area Economic Development Corporation (GIAEDC) focuses on new business attraction and local business expansion and efficiency, regardless of size or scope,” said Jay Kaspar, GIAEDC Chairman. “Being an Economic Development Certified Community will continue to support GIAEC’s mission to create quality jobs for Grand Island’s growing population.”

GIAEDC and the City have issued more than $1.7 million in LB840 funding, resulting in more than 300 new jobs from 2009-2014. LB840 funding is earmarked for job creation, business recruitment, infrastructure improvements, and job training. Companies that have been supported through LB840 include Ace Machine Shop, Hornady Manufacturing, Rogue Manufacturing, Standard Iron, Case IH, Medbury Fabrication, Chief Industries, Structured Solutions, Central Community College, and Bosselman Tank & Trailer.

Additionally, GIAEDC has worked with DED to locate other funding opportunities for area businesses, including the Nebraska Site and Building Development Fund.

Grand Island also has seen an uptick in the issuance of building permits since 2009. From 2000-2014, the City recorded more than 12,000 new residential and commercial build permits. Major projects in Grand Island since 2009 have included:

  • The Nebraska State Fair campus ($21,618,838 investment)
  • Grand Island Public Schools renovation ($4.248 million investment)
  • Good Samaritan Assisted Living ($2.383 million investment)
  • Nova Tech, Inc., renovation ($4.8 million investment)
  • Fairfield Inn & Suites, Holiday Inn and Best Westerns (combined $10.721 million investment)
  • Hope Harbor Homeless Shelter ($850,000 investment)
  • Normandy Apartments ($500,000 investment)

During the past five years, Grand Island has supported:

  • 278 new small businesses opening, resulting in 1,856 new jobs
  • 501 business expansions resulting in new capital investment and 2,933 new jobs
  • 478 new manufacturing jobs

In 2009, business leaders, Chamber of Commerce executives, and GIAEDC representatives realized there was an increasing demand for qualified workers, and the 2013 Career Pathways Institute (CPI), an elite career and technical academies program, was formed and opened its doors to students. Today, more than 230 students are enrolled at three CPI locations in the city. Business and industry leaders provide input about curriculum development, serve as guest instructors, and offer hands-on internship experiences. CPI is known throughout the U.S. as a cutting-edge, 21st century learning campus for area high school students.

DED Director Brenda Hicks-Sorensen, CEcD, attended the April 28, 2015 city council meeting to recognize the efforts of Grand Island’s city and business leaders.

Contact Sheryl Hiatt at 402-340-6180, sheryl.hiatt@nebraska.gov , or visit http://staging.neded.org/economic-development-certified-community for additional information on the Economic Development Certified Community Program.