Photo: Jonathan Nikkila (Councilperson), Bruce Lear (Council person), Stan Clouse (Mayor), Lt. Gov Mike Foley, Elizabeth Roetman (Vice Pres. of the EDC of Buffalo County), Kelsey Knehans (EDC of Buffalo County), Michael Morgan (City Manager), Tami James Moore (Council person), Randy Buschkoetter (Council person)
CITY EARNS CONTINUED RECOGNITION AS AN ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT CERTIFIED COMMUNITY
This week, Lieutenant Governor Mike Foley honored City of Kearney officials for their ongoing work in economic development on behalf of the state of Nebraska. For the third time in 10 years, Kearney has earned recognition from the Nebraska Department of Economic Development (DED) as an Economic Development Certified Community (EDCC). Lt. Gov. Foley and DED Business Development Consultant Kelly Gewecke presented the community’s EDCC recertification on Tuesday, December 11.
Kearney is one of 39 communities to earn EDCC certification in the program, 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. The City of Kearney earned original EDCC certification in 2008 and was recertified in 2013 and November, 2018.
Active local, county and state economic support have contributed to growth within the community’s public and private sectors. Through ongoing efforts to build opportunities in the region’s technology industry, the City of Kearney and Economic Development Council of Buffalo County (EDCBC) partnered to purchase and develop Kearney’s shovel-ready technology park, Tech oNE Crossing. Since 2017, local leaders have successfully recruited two companies to the facility, including Xpanxion Software’s $5 million client briefing center and an $11 million solar farm. The community continues to work closely with DED on recruitment efforts to attract additional companies to the park, and has partnered with the Nebraska Public Power District (NPPD) to market infrastructure opportunities at the facility.
“As an EDCC community, Kearney is facilitating a unique opportunity to create a diverse and talented workforce through both outstanding leadership and innovation,” Nebraska Diplomats President Jane McDaniel said. “Whether they’re bringing new jobs to Tech oNE Crossing or promoting Central Community College’s $23 million dollar new facility, local leaders continue to serve as a catalyst for economic growth.”
In addition to ongoing economic development efforts, the City of Kearney has successfully added community services to enhance residents’ quality of life. Since its 2013 certification, the city has celebrated the completion of the Central Nebraska Veteran’s Home and secured daily jet service from Kearney to Denver via United Airlines.
“Kearney is literally growing in every direction and is one of the fastest growing communities in Nebraska by population, income and new investment,” said Mayor Stan Clouse. “Kearney is a community that invests a significant amount of time and resources into economic development, with the mission of furthering our economic diversity and attracting great-paying jobs. We are thankful for the work of the Nebraska Diplomats and their program, which ensures that Kearney is open for business. Our community is proud to have a continued opportunity to grow as a Nebraska Diplomats and DED Economic Development Certified Community.”
“The certified community program is an intense process of community preparation and proof of economic development best practices,” said EDCBC President Darren Robinson. “I appreciate all of the hard work by EDCBC staff and the City of Kearney in successfully obtaining our recertification. Kearney is truly a community with an attitude of betterment where everyone in the community is pulling in the same direction, and it shows.”
Additional successful recruitment and expansion projects include a new 150,000 square foot office for Blueprint Engines and a 100,000 square foot manufacturing facility for Midwest Partitions.
“During my visit to Kearney, I had a first-hand opportunity to learn about the community’s business recruitment and workforce development efforts while touring Midwest Partitions,” Lt. Gov. Foley said. “Over the past year, local leaders built a strong relationship with this Nebraska-based company to expand and locate its headquarters in Kearney. Support from area development organizations contributed to the project by investing nearly $80,000 to help create 40 new jobs. Public-private partnerships like these are considered cornerstones of our state’s EDCC program, and the Nebraska Department of Economic Development is proud to recognize Kearney as an EDCC for the third time in the past decade.”
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/.