JANUARY 5, 2016 (LINCOLN, NEB.)—Scottsbluff, Neb. (pop. 15,023), has earned its recertification in the Nebraska Economic Development Certified Community Program. The city was originally certified in April 2007 and recertified in October 2010 and November 2015.
The program is sponsored by the Nebraska Diplomats and administered by the Nebraska Department of Economic Development (DED). Designation as a Nebraska Economic Development Certified Community indicates that Scottsbluff is prepared for business growth and ready to meet the needs of companies seeking new business and industrial locations.
“The City of Scottsbluff stands as a shining example of economic growth and development excellence,” said Nebraska Diplomats President Dean Hart. “They fully understand and appreciate the value of partnership in creating, sustaining and growing the quality of life for their citizens, not only citywide, but throughout the greater region.”
“We appreciate all of our partners working with us on recertification,” said Scottsbluff Mayor Randy Meininger. “This certification is key as we seek to be a responsible leader in regional economic development. It’s important for us to stay on top of current trends and policies enabling us to remain in the forefront of enhancing economic growth in the City and in our partnership communities.”
During the past five years the City of Scottsbluff has helped a manufacturer, a primary employer, and several retail and service businesses locate here, and an existing business expand in the community, resulting in 481 new jobs and new capital investment.
Community accomplishments during the past five years include:
- The City engaged a national consulting firm to conduct a regional economic development study and develop a comprehensive plan detailing target industries, site selection preparedness, and community enhancements. The plan also recommended creating an interlocal group and an agreement involving area governmental entities to collaborate on regional economic development projects. As a result, the Western Nebraska Economic Development Board was created.
- In accordance with the regional economic development plan, Twin Cities Development Association (TCD) Inc. renovated a 9,000 sq. ft. downtown office building into an entrepreneurship center. The building supports offices for TCD, Panhandle Area Development District, and Scottsbluff Business Masterminds, with space available for nine offices and 12 cubicles supporting entrepreneurs and start-up businesses. Training and conference center space also is available for rent.
- The City used Tax Increment Financing (TIF) for public costs associated with several private development projects. TIF was most recently used to attract Reganis Honda auto dealership and service center, and Fairfield Inn; develop the multi-tenant Elite Health Medical and Wellness Center; and rehabilitate Monument Mall, a shopping hub. The combined private investment of these TIF projects is approximately $31.45 million, and has added 200-plus employees.
- With assistance from TCD, the City received a $350,000 Community Development Block Grant for Downtown Revitalization. Grant funds were used to rehab 48 downtown businesses, add a public restroom, and erect permanent awnings in the Farmer’s Market area. The City also removed traffic stoplights and repaved Broadway Street. The grant leveraged $595,000 in additional private investment.
- Upon recommendation of the LB840 Application Review Committee, the City recently approved a $250,000 grant for SWBC, a diversified financial services company, to recruit as many as 100 full-time equivalent employees. SWBC, which purchased the former Nationstar facility, has more than 375 employees, and plans to hire as many as 500-plus additional employees.
- The City authorized $310,000 in LB840 grant funds and a $380,000 loan to recruit Fusion Ranch, a California company that processes Asian- and American-style beef jerky products shipped throughout the U.S. and Canada. The company employs 62 full-time workers.
- The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services opened a consolidated service center in Scottsbluff that created more than 100 jobs. TCD wrote the Request For Proposal for the City, which was one of four locations selected from 85 proposals.
- The City received a $988,000 CDBG Neighborhood Stabilization Program grant to demolish 53 dilapidated structures, including Hergert Mill, City Limits Motel, and Wagon Wheel Trailer Park. Four homes were also redeveloped.
- Western Nebraska Housing Opportunities rehabbed seven vacant, rundown homes into safe, decent low- and moderate-income family homes with a grant from the Nebraska Affordable Housing Program.
DED Business Development Consultant Starr Lehl attended the January 4 city council meeting to recognize the City’s efforts.
Contact Lynn Kohout at 402-440-2559, or firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit http://www.neded.org/economic-development-certified-community for additional information on the Economic Development Certified Community Program.