Left to right: Garry Clark, Greater Fremont Development Council President and CEO; City Councilwoman Susan Jacobus; Lt. Governor Mike Foley; City Councilwoman Linda McClain; City Councilman Michael Kuhns; City Administrator Brian Newton.
City earns continued status as an Economic Development Certified Community
The State of Nebraska has recognized the City of Fremont (pop. 26,519) for ongoing success in business recruitment, updated housing and collaboration in local industries. On Wednesday, Lt. Governor Mike Foley joined Field Staff from the Nebraska Department of Economic Development (DED) to announce Fremont’s continued status in Nebraska’s Economic Development Certified Community (EDCC) program. The Lt. Gov. honored local leaders during the Greater Fremont Development Council’s annual meeting on February 26.
Fremont 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 their preparedness to attract new industries and grow existing businesses. Fremont has earned EDCC recertification several times in the past decade since its original certification in 2006.
Public and private partnerships have driven new economic investments within the Fremont region over the past several years. In 2017, local and regional leaders and investors recruited Lincoln Premium Poultry’s $400 million processing facility to the community. Costco’s first-ever poultry processing plant, hatchery and feed mill opened in the fall of 2019 and created approximately 1,000 jobs.
“In every corner of our state, strong relationships are at the heart of Nebraska’s success in business recruitment,” said Lt. Gov. Foley. “Partnerships between the City of Fremont, Greater Fremont Development Council and private industry leaders have generated great growth in this community. This type of progressive leadership is essential to building economic opportunities and flourishing in Nebraska’s EDCC program.”
Over the past five years, new or expanding local businesses created an additional $400 million in investments in Fremont. These businesses have included Legacy Post & Beam, Vision Electric, Unicon, First Community Bank, Wholestone Farms, American Underground, Western Integrated Seed and Cox Communications.
Local leaders continue to build momentum for Fremont’s new marketing brand, designed to showcase strengths within the Fremont community. The City’s “Here We Grow” campaign launched in 2018, and focuses on efforts to increase local workforce and housing opportunities.
“The City of Fremont is honored to be recertified as a Nebraska Economic Development Certified Community by DED and the Nebraska Diplomats,” said Mayor Scott Getzschman. “A number of local leaders assisted in the recertification process, including past and present members of the Fremont City Council and our economic partner, the Greater Fremont Development Council. Fremont is growing, and being recognized as an EDCC certainly helps in our economic development efforts. Fremont, here we grow!”
In 2018, regional economic influencers formed the “Strategic Doing” initiative to encourage collaboration within the community’s healthcare and manufacturing sectors and nonprofit organizations. The initiative helped implement a drive-thru job fair in the community and a 24-Hour Daycare Survey, which led investors to open a new daycare.
“In a number of Nebraska’s EDCC communities, leaders are often focused on economic growth inspired by a region’s specific needs,” said Nebraska Diplomats President Dan Duncan. “These efforts in Fremont not only provide local needs and services, they encourage business leaders and young families to continue building their lives in Nebraska.”
Completion of a county-wide housing study in 2017 assessed needs for growth in family and workforce housing. The community leveraged $3.4 million in funding to focus on workforce, affordable and disaster recovery housing following record flooding in early 2019. In addition, Fremont’s Local Option Municipal Economic Development Act (LB840) will contribute $500,000 in disaster relief and nearly $1 million to develop affordable, low-to-moderate income housing units.
Local leaders recently partnered with the Nebraska Investment Finance Authority (NIFA) and DED to invest more than $1.8 million in the Dodge County Investment Fund. The fund will provide support for two housing projects, a 300-unit apartment complex and four downtown upper-level housing projects.
Efforts by the Greater Fremont Development Council secured funding for four additional housing development projects, which will result in approximately 1,000 new units. Executive Director Garry Clark says evolving partnerships led to growth in local housing and business development efforts.
“On behalf of the Greater Fremont Development Council, Board Chair Mr. Bill Vobejda, staff and our investors, we are pleased to hear the news that DED and the Nebraska Diplomats have recertified the City of Fremont as an EDCC,” Clark said. “With the support of our city council, business leaders and economic development partners, Fremont continues to strive for growth while also sustaining the key components of a vibrant and diverse community. We truly believe and work to live out our local slogan which is, Fremont…Here We Grow.”
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/.