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City honored for continued membership in Nebraska’s Economic Development Certified Community program.

Land acquisition efforts dedicated to economic development in the city of Lexington (pop. 10,348) have earned ongoing accolades from the State of Nebraska. Lt. Gov. Mike Foley honored City officials this week, on behalf of the Nebraska Department of Economic Development (DED), for its continued leadership in the state’s Economic Development Certified Community (EDCC) program. Lexington’s fourth certification in nearly 15 years recognizes recent investments in housing and industrial development projects. DED Central Nebraska Business Development Consultant and EDCC Program Director, Ashley Rice-Gerlach, joined Lt. Gov. Foley for a special presentation to the community on December 28.

Lexington 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 EDCC program in 2005 to recognize communities for preparedness to attract new industries and grow existing businesses. As part of the certification process, qualifying cities and villages must identify a well-defined program that engages with their existing business community to offer 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. Lexington earned EDCC certification in 2007 and was recertified in 2011, 2016 and 2021.

“As one of Nebraska’s first communities to earn recognition as an EDCC, Lexington leaders have utilized the program as a platform for growth over the past 15 years,” said Lt. Gov. Foley. “Evolving efforts to develop City-owned land have facilitated industrial, recreational and residential opportunities, which will undoubtedly complement efforts to recruit businesses and new members of Nebraska’s already robust workforce.”

Lexington officials have worked diligently to boost economic efforts through a $4 million commitment to develop land and infrastructure for new housing projects. The City currently controls approximately 150 build-ready residential lots, along with 20 acres of land, which are available for multi-family residential development. In July, Lexington’s city council supported housing redevelopment efforts by conveying additional land to the Community Development Agency.

More than $35 million in additional private investments have been utilized for the construction of 254 housing units.

“Public-private partnerships are often a top priority among Nebraska’s EDCC’s, where leaders are committed to finding unique ways to develop multi-use housing projects,” said Nebraska Diplomats President Tim O’Brien. “Recent land acquisitions have allowed the City to steer these efforts, which have also encouraged investments from other citizens and supporters dedicated to the same cause.”

Over the past several years, the City of Lexington has purchased 100 acres of building-ready property for industrial and commercial development projects, as well as an additional 215 acres to support conceptual planning for residential and commercial growth.

Since 2016, the City has invested more than $2 million to further develop park, trail and public facilities. City Manager Joe Pepplitsch said Lexington’s ongoing commitment to recreational growth is an example of the community’s overall investment in economic development.

“Finding new ways to encourage Lexington’s business leaders, employees and families to continue building their lives in our community will always be a top priority in Lexington,” Pepplitsch said. “We appreciate the opportunity to grow through local, regional and state partnerships supported by Nebraska’s EDCC program.”

For more information on the Economic Development Certified Community Program, contact Ashley Rice-Gerlach at 308-655-0919 or ashley.gerlach@nebraska.gov, or visit https://opportunity.nebraska.gov/program/economic-development-certified-community-edcc/.