Photo: Council President Mark Ripp, Mayor Steve Merrill, City of Creighton Economic Development Director and Administrator, Clerk and Treasurer Lindsay Nelson and Council Members Amber Ostronic, Eric Schroeder and Sam Davidson.
Department of Economic Development recognizes Creighton in Nebraska’s Leadership Certified Community program.
Expansion of fiber optic services, downtown revitalization efforts and new businesses have expanded opportunities for growth in the city of Creighton (pop. 1,105). The City’s continued work in Nebraska’s Leadership Certified Community (LCC) program earned recognition from the Department of Economic Development (DED) this week. DED LCC Program Director and Central Nebraska Business Development Consultant, Kelly Gewecke, honored local leaders during a special presentation on November 9.
Creighton is one of 31 Nebraska communities to qualify for DED’s LCC program, created in 2011 to help villages and municipalities adapt to ongoing changes and opportunities in economic development. Certified communities must demonstrate an understanding for and preparedness in strategic planning, and display readiness in technological development to help new and existing businesses grow. Qualifying LCC’s earn status in the program for five years and are required to maintain community websites to market local development, which may include information on available sites and buildings and regional employment opportunities. This is Creighton’s first LCC recertification following the City’s original recognition in the program in 2016.
Local leaders have prioritized infrastructure development in the community, resulting in a new fiber optic line built by Blair-based Great Plains Communications. Ongoing downtown development efforts have facilitated Creighton’s partnership with the State of Nebraska over the past five years. A $350,000 Community Development Block Grant for Downtown Revitalization, awarded by DED in 2017, resulted in funding assistance for new downtown sidewalks. Several downtown businesses also utilized the fund to updated awnings and signage. The City worked closely with the Northeast Nebraska Economic Development District on the project, which was completed in late 2018. New LED lights were installed following the original project’s completion.
The Creighton Development Corporation (CDC) recently supported the development of the community’s newest restaurant, Rhonda’s. Rhonda Hurtig purchased the building from the CDC for a low-interest, long-term loan to expedite the restaurant’s opening on Main Street.
“Creighton’s recent downtown development is an example of collaboration from positive and progressive local leaders, who build regional and state partnerships to complete economic projects,” said Gewecke. “The LCC program encourages strong relationships among economic developers across Nebraska, who are constantly working to grow and improve our communities.”
Creighton leaders have celebrated the addition of new Main Street businesses over the past several years, including Mahalo Boutique, Inessence Salon and a new State Farm Insurance branch. Recently, the community welcomed the addition of food trucks on Main Street, which are open for business each Tuesday. A Ladies’ Night celebration encouraged businesses to stay open past regular business hours for expanded shopping opportunities. An upcoming Winter Family Fun Day will offer shopping and dining, as well as a scavenger hunt, Santa visits, a lighted parade and the library tree lighting event.
“Creighton is a rural community and is an ideal place to raise a family as home to a strong school system, Knox County’s only hospital and recently-expanded retail businesses,” said City of Creighton Economic Development Director and Administrator, Clerk and Treasurer Lindsay Nelson. “We are excited to continue our efforts to grow and attract families to our safe and secure community.”
Creighton’s Music on Main Street program featured entertainment from artist Jerry Stingley, as well as shopping, games and outdoor recreation for children. The community’s Music on the Park program hosted two events during Summer 2021, which included locally owned food and beverage services and entertainment provided by The Root Rockers and Kimberly Meyer.
The Keep Creighton Thriving for the Future committee is currently working on establishing a Local Option Municipal Development Act (LB840) program, which allows a portion of sales tax dollars to be utilized for economic development efforts. Additional goals created by the group include construction of a new firehall, new community center, childcare and housing units.
“We are honored that Creighton continues to grow in small town rural Nebraska. Our business owners, citizens and community volunteers are what keep our community thriving, “said Mayor Steve Morrill. “The City of Creighton is excited to create new opportunities as a Leadership Certified Community. It takes a village to keep our community growing.”
For more information about the Leadership Certified Community (LCC) Program,
contact Kelly Gewecke at firstname.lastname@example.org or 308-627-3151, or visit