This week, Lt. Governor Mike Foley and Nebraska State Senator Matt Williams, Dist. 36, announced the city of Gothenburg’s (Pop. 3,530) recertification in the state of Nebraska’s Economic Development Certified Community (EDCC) program. Lt. Governor Foley and Senator Williams honored the community during a special evening event on Thursday, May 26.
Gothenburg is one of 38 communities to earn EDCC certification in the program, which is sponsored by the Nebraska Diplomats and administered by the Nebraska Department of Economic Development (DED). State officials established the program in 2005 to recognize communities for preparedness to attract new industries and grow existing businesses. The community earned original certification in 2007 and was recertified in 2010 and 2016.
“The city of Gothenburg is excited to receive the continued designation of an EDCC community from the Nebraska Diplomats and DED,” Gothenburg Mayor Joyce Hudson said. “We stand ready to continue to identify economic development opportunities and to actively use our resources of people, land, economic development organizational success, and community to capitalize upon those opportunities.”
As part of the certification process, a qualifying community must identify a well-defined program that actively engages with its 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, such as implementing a progressive strategy to grow the community’s labor market.
Community-wide efforts to implement high-speed fiber connectivity as part of Gothenburg’s strategic plan began in 2007, which included a survey of area businesses and residents on their need for upgraded technology. In 2014, local leaders announced the city’s partnership with Pinpoint Communications, which resulted in fiber connectivity to more than 700 homes. That same year, the city, hospital and school signed an inter-local agreement to hire a Community Technology Outreach Officer to promote area-wide communications by utilizing advanced digital and electronic technology. Since 2014, the officer has spearheaded efforts to create new websites for several local entities, including Gothenburg Health and Gothenburg Public Schools (GPS).
“Evolving technology continues to be an essential part of economic development in Nebraska communities,” Lt. Governor Foley said. “By establishing public-private partnerships to attract new services, local leaders are investing in Gothenburg’s future. This type of progressive leadership is an important factor in the city’s continued economic growth.”
During the past five years, successful economic development efforts in the community include expansions of Country Partners Cooperative, Nebraska Salt & Grain, and Pony Express Chevrolet. In 2015, GPS completed a $250,000 project for a campus greenhouse and additional classroom, and Gothenburg Memorial Hospital (GMH) completed the first phase of a $29.5 million renovation. In addition, downtown revitalization projects have been completed in more than 20 businesses.
New community additions include an 18,000- square- foot, 21-exam room hospital clinic and a $1.6 million project to rehabilitate Lake Helen. Last year, GMH, GPS and the city agreed to partner in support of a $4 million community wellness facility known as “The Center.” To date, the community is making great strides in reaching its $4 million goal.
The city, Gothenburg Housing Development Corporation, and Dawson Area Development are continually searching for new housing opportunities in coordination with the local redevelopment authority and Gothenburg Improvement Company. These include developing efforts for first-time home buyers, owner- occupied rehabilitation, and low- to moderate- income apartments and duplexes. Since 2008, housing partnerships have resulted in seven homes, five duplexes and one triplex for low- to moderate- income senior residents. Completion of three additional duplexes is expected this spring.
“Gothenburg leaders’ efforts to create new opportunities in agri-business, health care, housing and recreation highlight their ability to offer well-rounded services in this area,” said Nebraska Diplomats President Dean Hart. “In turn, local leaders are creating a platform to attract new talent, as well as encourage long-time residents to continue living in this outstanding community.”
Contact Lynn Kohout at 402-440-2559, or firstname.lastname@example.org , or visit http://staging.neded.org/economic-development-certified-community for additional information on the Economic Development Certified Community Program.