Photo (left to right): Cass County Nebraska Economic Development Council Executive Director Jennifer Serkiz, Lieutenant Governor Mike Foley and Mayor Paul Lambert.
City recognized for ongoing membership in State of Nebraska’s Economic Development Certified Community program.
The City of Plattsmouth (pop. 6,480) has earned recognition from the State of Nebraska for significant developments in the community’s manufacturing and housing industries. This week, Lt. Gov. Mike Foley and the Nebraska Department of Economic Development (DED) announced the City’s recertification in Nebraska’s Economic Development Certified Community (EDCC) program. Lt. Gov. Foley honored City leaders during a special presentation on Monday, October 19.
Plattsmouth is one of 40 Nebraska communities to earn status in the EDCC program, which is 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, local financing and incentive programs, and a strategic plan for economic development. The City of Plattsmouth received its first EDCC certification in 2009 and earned recertifications in 2014 and 2020.
Since its original certification, leaders in Plattsmouth have drawn upon stakeholders’ input to implement the community’s most recent strategic plan for economic development. An extensive community engagement process resulted in adoption of the City’s Comprehensive and Downtown Plans in 2015 and completion of a housing study in 2018. City officials continue to utilize all three documents, as well as partnerships with the Cass County Nebraska Economic Development Council (CCNEDC) and the State of Nebraska to create local business and workforce opportunities.
Plattsmouth Mayor R. Paul Lambert emphasized his appreciation for state and regional relationships, which often lead to valuable guidance and assistance in economic development planning that are essential within the EDCC program.
“I am proud of this certification and our economic development efforts,” said Mayor Lambert. “We continue to achieve success with help from our partners, including the CCNEDC, DED, the Nebraska Department of Transportation and the Nebraska Public Power District.”
Local leaders celebrated the groundbreaking of Plattsmouth’s most recent expansion project in August, which qualified for local and State funding assistance. Tennessee manufacturer Vireo Resources anticipates the creation of up to 200 new jobs following a $15 million expansion project, which will be built on 10 acres of the City’s controlled development site. The company will utilize a forgivable, $75,000 land loan from the City based on job creation, as well as assistance from several State programs. Vireo qualified for a $1 million Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) loan awarded by DED and tax incentives from the Nebraska Advantage Act, administered by the Department of Revenue. Assistance from the Nebraska Department of Transportation’s (NDOT) Economic Opportunity Program will help facilitate infrastructure development for roads leading in and out of the business.
“Plattsmouth’s ongoing partnership with one of the community’s top employers is an example of the City’s commitment to building a viable workforce,” Lt. Gov. Foley said. “Earning an expansion opportunity from an out-of-state company also shows great leadership by local developers who were likely competing for the project with other states, which is required to qualify for the NDOT’s Economic Opportunity Program.”
Progressive community leadership has also resulted in the development of several area housing projects, including Osage Ranch and Meadow Heights Estates. The City utilized Tax Increment Financing (TIF), which typically provides subsidies for redevelopment, infrastructure or community improvement projects, to facilitate the Meadow Heights project. A TIF contract between the City and Sudbeck homes paved the way for the development of 60 single-family homes.
The City recently purchased the former high school’s Blue Devil Stadium property from Plattsmouth Community Schools to construct a mixed-use residential and commercial townhouse-style development. In addition, leaders are in the process of repurposing Plattsmouth’s former high school and parking lot, which have been vacant for 20 years, into housing for low-to-moderate income residents. The City has partnered with MDX Investments, LLC to redevelop the property, which was recently placed on the National Register of Historic Places, into 12 one-bedroom, 13 two-bedroom and 15 three-bedroom units. The development will serve families who earn between 30 and 60 percent of the City’s area median income. Total development costs are estimated at $10.3 million.
“Planning for mixed-use housing developments can enhance a community’s quality of life and encourage retention and growth in a community’s workforce,” said Nebraska Diplomats President Dan Duncan. “Both are priorities in Nebraska’s EDCC program, which often lead to overall success in economic development.”
The City has assisted in the development of eight, non-primary business recruitment projects since 2014, and six new businesses in the local Historic District. Plattsmouth utilized funding from the DED-administered CDBG Downtown Revitalization Program, as well as public and private investments, to update properties in the Historic District. In 2017, the City received recognition for downtown revitalization efforts from the Nebraska Planning and Zoning Association with an “Implementation Award.” In addition, Landscape Architect Magazine honored Plattsmouth Main Street as a “Spectacular Streetscape” in 2018.
Over the past five years, total capital investment in the community has totaled more than $15 million.
“Having an opportunity to be part of economic development efforts in the City of Plattsmouth and Cass County over the past five years has been a remarkable experience,” said Cass County Economic Development Executive Director Jennifer Serkiz. “I am eager to continue collaborating with community leaders and working toward ongoing economic growth”
For additional information on the Economic Development Certified Community Program, Contact Ashley Rice-Gerlach at 308-655-0919 firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit https://opportunity.nebraska.gov/program/economic-development-certified-community-edcc/.