This week, the Nebraska Department of Economic Development (DED) recognized the Village of Palmer (pop. 472) as the state’s newest Leadership Certified Community (LCC). DED Business Development Consultant and LCC Program Director Kelly Gewecke honored village officials during a special presentation in the community on Thursday, December 7th.
Palmer is the 20th Nebraska community to qualify for DED’s LCC program, created in 2011 to help Nebraska communities adapt to ongoing changes and opportunities in economic development. Qualifying communities must demonstrate an understanding of and preparedness in strategic and community planning, as well as display readiness in technological development to help new and existing businesses grow. Certified communities earn designation in the program for five years and are required to update and maintain information and websites.
Over the past five years, village officials and the Palmer Economic Development Committee (PEDC) have engaged residents in developing strategies to improve Palmer’s housing and business communities. PEDC fostered committee and community support for existing property and new business owners, and completed a Blight and Substandard Determination Study to pinpoint areas to utilize Tax Increment Financing (TIF). In addition, the village reconstructed Commercial Street and added “Welcome to Palmer” signage on telephone poles as part of a downtown revitalization project.
“Collaboration among local leaders continues to put Nebraska’s rural communities on the map by creating opportunities for development and building local morale,” said LCC Program Director Kelly Gewecke. “Palmer’s Village Board, PEDC and community supporters are working hard to keep their town vibrant and growing for the next generation.”
Last month, the Village of Palmer received notice of a $250,000 DED Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) to improve and update existing homes for Owner Occupied Rehabilitation (OOR). Since 2012, the community has built one and two homes annually. Village leaders foresee continued growth in housing upon further collaboration between private and public sector leaders.
“Becoming LCC certified and receiving CDBG money is a great honor and an example of the State of Nebraska’s efforts to grow our small communities,” Palmer Village Board Chairperson Jeremy Davis said. “We are grateful for these additional opportunities to provide our village residents with resources to improve their homes.”
Volunteers’ commitment to progress, growth and community pride contributed to Palmer’s qualification as a Nebraska LCC. Local families continuously maintain the village’s baseball fields, which resulted in an opportunity to host Nebraska’s Senior District Baseball Competition. In addition, Palmer volunteers plan and host annual community celebrations, such as a “Fall Festival” and an “Old Fashioned Christmas.”
“It’s great to see a village of our size come together to make these festivities memorable for our family and friends, and a lot of hard work goes into coordinating these local events,” said Palmer Community Club President Sarah Davis. “It is truly amazing to see local contributors from several entities so invested in our small community.”
For information about DED’s Leadership Certified Community Program, contact Kelly Gewecke at firstname.lastname@example.org, 308-627-3151, or visit: https://opportunity.nebraska.gov/program/leadership-certified-community/