Village of Hemingford Fosters Entrepreneurial Growth to Launch Solar, Social Development

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Village of Hemingford Fosters Entrepreneurial Growth to Launch Solar, Social Development

Photo L to R: Hemingford Board Member Jake Frost, Clerk Barb Straub, BBDC Executive Dir. Chelsie Herian, Board Chairman John Annen, Brittany Hardin / DED, Board Member Richard Wacker and Board Member Riki Hunter

Department of Economic Development recognizes Hemingford in Nebraska’s Leadership Certified Community program.

Ongoing business development and efforts to expand renewable energy opportunities in the village of Hemingford (pop. 806) have earned continued recognition from the State of Nebraska. This week, the Department of Economic Development (DED) announced Hemingford’s recertification in Nebraska’s Leadership Certified Community (LCC) program. Gov. Pete Ricketts’ West Central Director and Western Nebraska Development Consultant for DED, Brittany Hardin, honored local leaders during a special presentation on December 14.

Hemingford is one of 31 Nebraska LCC’s, and was western Nebraska’s first community to qualify for the program, which was 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. Hemingford earned certification in the program in 2016 and was recertified this month.

The Village’s partnership with Box Butte Development Corporation (BBDC) initiated an innovative business assistance program. BBDC recently assisted Hemingford’s Community Redevelopment Authority (CRA) to implement a Storefront Improvement Grant. So far, the CRA has assisted 16 local applicants by awarding a grant of up to $1,000 to each business for façade improvements. Successful applicants include 3 Little Birds Health & Healing House, Barb’s Blossoms, Bubba’s Bar & Grill, Buchheit Precision, Dave’s Pharmacy, Farmer’s Co-op, Hartman Electrolysis, Hemingford Community Federal Credit Union, LOCAL, Lux Salon, Sorensen Irrigation, Table Top Meats, Inc., The Body Shop, Valor General Store, and Wheatridge Court Apartments.

“Progressive efforts from the BBDC and the CRA have proven that economic success and strong business relationships are a top priority throughout Box Butte County,” said LCC Program Director Kelly Gewecke. “Local leaders recognize the importance in assisting both start-ups and expansion projects, which have created great business diversity encouraged by the LCC program.”

“BBDC has appreciated the opportunity to assist entrepreneurs who have chosen to invest in and call Hemingford home over the past few years like Table Top Meats, LOCAL, Valor General Store, LUX Salon and Buchheit Precision to name a few,” said BBDC Executive Director Chelsie Herian. “Hemingford’s welcoming business community and outstanding quality of life have attracted many new young families.  BBDC is excited to play a role in helping all of our local business leaders thrive.”

Infrastructure development efforts remain a top priority for village leaders. The community recently celebrated the completion of a $1.2 million street improvement project. In addition, local fundraising efforts will support the construction of Hemingford’s future splash pad project in Spring 2022. Private and Village investments are contributing to the project, which requires a minimum investment of $57,000.

A Purchase Power Agreement (PPA) with Valta Energy cemented the creation of Hemingford’s Solar Array project. The array was completed in 2020 and is located near the Box Butte County Fairgrounds. The PPA complements the Village’s efforts in seeking environmentally friendly energy alternatives.

Village Chairman John Annen highlighted the need for local collaboration to encourage ongoing economic development in Hemingford.

“A lot of effort has come from a lot of people in the community and beyond to achieve this recertification, and we are blessed to have so many people making special things happen here,” Annen said. “Hemingford’s improved storefronts, new businesses and future projects like the splash pad show our overall commitment to growth.  It takes a community to make a community, and ours is pretty great.”

For more information about the Leadership Certified Community (LCC) Program, contact Kelly Gewecke at kelly.gewecke@nebraska.gov or 308-627-3151, or visit https://opportunity.nebraska.gov/program/leadership-certified-community/.

 

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