This week, the Nebraska Department of Economic Development (DED) designated Ralston, Neb. (pop.6,366) as the state’s newest Leadership Certified Community. DED Business Development Consultant, Lynn Kohout, recognized city officials during a special presentation on Tuesday, August 16th.
Ralston is the 14th community to qualify for DED’s Leadership Certified Community Program (LCC), created in 2011 to help smaller Nebraska communities adapt to ongoing changes and opportunities in economic development. Qualifying communities must demonstrate an understanding for 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.
“We are thrilled to receive notice that Ralston is approved as a Leadership Certified Community,” said Mayor Donald A. Groesser. “We have a great team of civic and business leaders who all work hard to keep our community spirit strong. Ralston is already a vibrant city, and we will work with these Leadership Certified Community Program resources to enhance our local planning efforts, business growth ideas, and development potential to create an even better Ralston.”
New opportunities in economic development driven by the 2012 opening of the Ralston Arena continue to benefit the community. The 4,000-seat facility hosts a variety of national and local music acts, as well as business, civic and sporting events. The arena’s 230,000 annual visitors brought a need for additional area lodging and paved the way for the 2014 opening of Ralston’s first hotel, the Holiday Inn Express & Suites. In addition, the Oaks Apartment Community opened in 2013 and holds 274 multi-family housing units.
Ralston has a growing reputation as a family friendly community. In 2016, lifestyle and financial industry data website “insidermonkey.com” named Ralston as Nebraska’s number one community for retirees. The city also hosts Nebraska’s largest Independence Day parade, which draws 50,000 visitors annually.
Investments by new business owners and entrepreneurs continue to grow the Ralston community. New businesses in the area include:
Collaboration between community leaders and business owners has led to improvement and expansion efforts in a number of existing businesses and restaurants. New development projects were recently completed at the following:
Ralston Economic Development Advisory Committee member, Scott Nigro, says new opportunities are at the forefront of the community’s positive reputation and spirit of innovation.
“Ralston residents played an active role in updating our community’s comprehensive plan, and now, we are working in a positive direction to implement ideas from that plan,” Nigro said. “We have a solid direction, and the businesses in our downtown area are participating in discussions about progress, innovation, and new projects. The Leadership Certified Community Program will be a great way to align discussion with real projects that are on the horizon in Ralston.”
For information about the Leadership Certified Community Program,
contact Kelly Gewecke at firstname.lastname@example.org , 308-627-3151, or visit