Photo: Back row (left to right): Chris Miller, Hartington Economic Development Corporation; Dan Kathol, Nebraska Diplomats.
Middle row (left to right): Hartington Economic Development Corporation Zach Becker, Tim Nissen, Gary Kruse, and Ryan Creamer.
Front row (left to right): Mayor Mark Becker, Lt. Gov Mike Foley, Hartington Economic Development Coordinator Miranda Becker, Peggy Year, Hartington Economic Development
Lt. Gov. Mike Foley honored City for ongoing membership in Nebraska’s Economic Development Certified Community Program
For the third time in a decade, the State of Nebraska has recognized the City of Hartington (pop.1,645) as an ongoing leader in business development. Lt. Gov. Mike Foley and the Department of Economic Development (DED) recently recognized the City for its membership in the State’s Economic Development Certified Community (EDCC) program. DED Northeast Nebraska Business Development Consultant, Lyndsy Jenness, joined the Lt. Gov. for a special presentation to the community on Monday, June 14.
Hartington is one of 40 Nebraska communities to earn EDCC status in the program, sponsored by the Nebraska Diplomats and administered by DED. State officials established the program in 2005 to recognize communities for preparedness to attract new industries and grow existing businesses. As part of the certification process, qualifying communities must identify a well-defined program that actively engages with their existing business community and offers a supportive environment for welcoming new economic development projects. This includes documenting available sites and buildings, developing local financing and incentive programs and creating ongoing strategic planning for economic growth. Hartington received original EDCC certification in 2010 and earned program recertification in 2015 and 2021.
“Hartington has always been and continues to be a great community to live, work and raise a family,” said Hartington-Area Nebraska Diplomats Representative Dan Kathol. “Achieving and maintaining EDCC status recognizes Hartington as a leader in the State of Nebraska in promoting a strong business climate and development, which is key to a healthy population and quality of life. Our entire community should be commended in again achieving this recertification status, as it takes everyone‘s individual and collective efforts each and every day to make it happen.”
Local, evolving business development incentives have gained continued support from the Hartington community over the past five years. The City’s Local Option Municipal Economic Development (LB840) program has provided $390,500 in zero percent interest loans for new and expanding businesses. Hartington voters reauthorized its LB840 plan during the November 2020 election.
“Nebraska’s rural communities already have so much to offer for current and prospective business owners and their families, including access to safe neighborhoods and educational resources,” said Lt. Gov. Foley. “In Hartington, local incentive programs also provide a welcoming environment for new and growing businesses, which serve as an important tool for development encouraged within Nebraska’s EDCC program.”
Economic leaders have continued implementation of their plan to further develop Hartington’s Industrial Park. The community recently completed environmental reviews of the 140-acre property as a tool for business attraction. Over the past five years, the Hartington Community Development Corporation (HCDC) successfully recruited one new business to the park, which has since expanded. During that time, two existing park businesses completed additional development projects. HCDC is currently pursuing opportunities to expand the park’s footprint.
“Once again, Hartington is proving its leadership among communities of the same size, striving to be the best,” said HCDC President Chris Miller. “Our EDCC recertification shows the progressive and forward-thinking of community leaders in providing a success-driven environment for all of our businesses.”
Since Hartington’s last EDCC recertification in 2015, local leaders have successfully developed or retained 22 businesses, some of which gained new ownership. In addition, Nebraska Public Power District selected the community to participate in its Site Ready Assistance Program in 2020.
Locals continue to celebrate the community’s 164-year existence through Downtown Hartington’s recently designated Historical District. The National Historic Register now includes the Hartington Public Library.
Mayor Mark Becker says Hartington’s unique attractions are enhanced by local leaders who take pride in the ongoing development of their community.
“Congratulations Hartington Economic Development, and everyone who helped complete this process,” Mayor Becker said. “Great things lie ahead for the City of Hartington and Hartington Economic Development in the coming years.”
For additional information on the Economic Development Certified Community Program, Contact Ashley Rice-Gerlach at 308-655-0919 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit https://opportunity.nebraska.gov/program/economic-development-certified-community-edcc/.