Photo: Lt. Gov. Mike Foley and Scribner Economic Development Director Elizabeth Anna Valla.
Scribner recertified in State of Nebraska’s Economic Development Certified Community program.
The City of Scribner (pop. 857) received ongoing recognition from the State of Nebraska this week, with Lt. Gov. Mike Foley announcing the City’s recertification in the State’s Economic Development Certified Community (EDCC) program during a special presentation on Thursday. The Lt. Governor honored local leaders on behalf of the Nebraska Department of Economic Development (DED) for achievements ranging from recreational development to growth in the business community.
Scribner is one of 40 Nebraska communities to earn membership in the EDCC 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 efforts to grow existing businesses. As part of the certification process, qualifying communities must identify a well-defined program that actively engages with their current business community and offers a supportive environment for welcoming new economic development projects. This includes documenting available sites and buildings, implementing local financing and incentive programs and creating a strategic plan for economic development. The City of Scribner received program certification in 2010, and earned its first recertification in 2015.
“Scribner’s continued efforts to retain its EDCC certification helps enhance the opportunities our town has to offer to area businesses, residents and organizations, both current and potential,” said Scribner City Administrator Elmer Armstrong. “This certification helps us keep the focus on our future development and expansion.”
Over the past five years, local leaders have prioritized development efforts to enhance recreational opportunities within the community. The City recently received a $60,000 Civic and Community Center Financing Fund (CCCFF) grant from DED for infrastructure upgrades at Mohr Auditorium, which will include handicapped-accessibility improvements regulated by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
The City of Scribner also qualified for Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) assistance for ADA barrier removal at two shelters in the City Park. The project included installation of ADA-certified ramps in the park with access to streets, park shelters and restrooms. A recently completed walkway improved accessibility between the Scribner swimming pool and the Dodge County Fairgrounds. In addition to park improvements, the City invested in two bio-diesel powered generators to strengthen Scribner’s electrical infrastructure. The $1.75 million project was completed in September 2020.
Recent fundraising efforts assisted with plumbing and recreational upgrades at the Scribner pool, made possible by assistance from the Scribner Area Foundation. The foundation was among 65 nonprofit organizations that participated in the Fremont Area Big Give to support community development projects.
In 2020, the City partnered with the Greater Fremont Development Council and the Fremont Area Community Foundation to create a local “Grab and Go” meal program to support Scribner’s hospitality industry. Several restaurant owners hosted events to encourage southeast Nebraskans to utilize takeout opportunities during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Strong, progressive leadership has always played an important role in creating economic opportunities in Nebraska’s communities, especially as new challenges emerged in 2020,” Lt. Gov. Foley said. “Scribner’s City officials and philanthropists have developed creative ways to support local business sustainability, and prioritized projects to enhance quality of life throughout the pandemic. By doing so, local leaders have exhibited confidence in their community and its ability to evolve as part of our EDCC program.”
Scribner’s economic development programs continue to encourage growth within its business community. Scribner’s Improvement and Industrial Corporation Revolving Loan Fund provides financing for startups and existing businesses, and encourages job creation and retention for low-to-moderate income employees. Scribner’s Local Option Municipal Economic Development (LB840) program, which was approved by voters in 2009, funds the community’s economic development program through a portion of proceeds from a 1.5 percent sales tax. Over the past 15 years, the program has generated more than $1.6 million for local economic development projects.
“Scribner’s development programs not only incentivize businesses to invest locally, but also help build regional and state partnerships to encourage economic growth in the entire community,” said Nebraska Diplomats President Tim O’Brien. “As these programs evolve, Scribner leaders increase their opportunity to create strong relationships with economic developers, as well as with other cities in Nebraska’s EDCC network.”
“We are extremely grateful for the decision made by the Nebraska Diplomats, in once again designating Scribner as an EDCC,” said Scribner Economic Development Director Elizabeth Valla. “Our town has so many amazing opportunities for residents and businesses alike, and in this day-and-age, it’s about knowing how to get the word out. We are very proud of our town; not only with where we’ve been, but with where we are going. Be on the lookout for more initiatives to expand our economic success.”
Scribner’s 50-member business community recently welcomed a new entrepreneur to Main Street. Vacha Warrior Training Branch, a martial arts school established by local teenager Sophia Vacha last year, is now located in what was one of Scribner’s last vacant storefronts. The school serves as a branch of the Fremont-based Rosenbach Warrior Training.
City leaders say collaboration among City, regional and State partners will continue to create new opportunities for success.
“Securing our EDCC certification has assured us that Scribner is going in the right direction, and it inspires us to keep growing,” said Scribner Mayor Kenneth Thomas. “Our past successes make us the town we are today, and the faith the Nebraska Diplomats and DED have in our community encourages us to keep building on our history.”
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/.