Archive for the ‘News’ Category

1st Floor Retail/Commercial Kitchen Space for Rent.

AREA News, News, Photo Feature - 08.05.19

First floor retail space with direct access to Norris
Avenue in the front and the future Norris Alley to the

  • 1st Floor Retail Space/Commercial Kitchen Suite 102 & 105
  • 1,735 square feet total
  • Retail/Prep Space/Commercial Kitchen
  • Norris Street direct access
  • Rent – $1,080/month
  • Average Utilities – $660/month
  • Reduced rent for startup businesses

Click here for more information: 1st floor retail commercial space

MEDC Partnership leads to Down Payment Assistance Program

AREA News, News, Photo Feature - 08.01.19

MEDC has partnered with Southwest Nebraska Community Development Corporation (SWNCDC) to apply for a state down payment assistance program. Last week, the Department of Economic Development (DED) announced that SWNCDC received a $295,000 grant to provide at least 10 homeowners down payment assistance. It will take a while to work out the details with DED, but if you are interested contact Andy at 308-345-1200 or andy@mccookne.org. To read more about organizations awarded the grant click here for the DED press release.

July 2019 Director Update

AREA News, News, Photo Feature - 08.01.19

MEDC continues to work to expand McCook housing.

Earlier this week, we hosted University of Nebraska-Omaha/University of Nebraska Medical Center (UNMC) Chancellor Dr. Jeffrey Gold. Dr. Gold has had an accomplished career, first in pediatric heart surgery, now in higher education administration. His leadership has pushed UNMC forward nationally and earned him the chancellor position at UNO. This is rare in higher education for two institutions to have one chancellor. His leadership has stood out and made him the obvious choice for both institutions.

I’m sure he has a busy schedule, but he made the trip to McCook along with a team of seven of his colleagues to explore future partnerships with the McCook community. It is important for us to cultivate these partnerships and we have worked at the MEDC to develop local, regional, and state partnerships.

Regionally, we have developed partnerships to improve our housing stock. Last week, the Nebraska Department of Economic Development announced the Southwest Nebraska Community Betterment Corporation (SWNCBC) was one of about a dozen organizations to receive housing trust fund dollars. Southwest Nebraska Community Betterment Corporation covers the counties of Perkins, Chase, Dundy, Hayes, and Hitchcock and has one of the top state housing grant writers and administrators in Amy Thelander.

For their grant this year, MEDC partnered with them. Through this partnership, they were awarded $295,000 for down payment assistance for purchasing a home. McCook residents will be able to participate in this down payment assistance program that can provide up to $20,000. It takes a while to iron out the details, but if you would be interested in learning more, please contact me.

This was our second regional housing win this year. Earlier, we received a $405,000 grant as an innovative housing proposal with Benkelman and Cambridge. Under the guidance of Benkelman CRA Coordinator Megan Spargo, the three communities were able to come together. It takes a while to get the details in place, but this will result in new housing.

Another partnership helping meet local workforce needs is our early childhood education partnership with Nebraska Children through the Community 4 Kids initiative. After conducting our community survey with over 200 responses, we have identified increasing access to infant care, increasing the number of students in early childhood education, and helping new childcare providers get started as our top initiatives. Our core team continues to meet to work out the details on these projects. Through this project, we’ve worked closely with Tasha Wulf, University of Nebraska Extension Educator, and may have the opportunity to partner more with research being done at the university.

Along with our state and regional partnerships, our local partnerships are important. One local partner we work with is the McCook Chamber of Commerce. It has taken me a while to understand the differences between the chamber and MEDC. Our mission is to facilitate the formation, retention, attraction, and expansion of businesses in McCook and the surrounding area. This includes recruitment and assistance with the formation of new businesses. This is aimed at improving the entire community. The chamber offers training, education, networking, marketing, advocacy, and promotion designed to benefit members of the chamber. They would not be involved in recruiting new businesses and that allows more focus on helping members of the chamber succeed.

Recently, Jamie Mockry resigned as Chamber Director. Under his leadership, chamber events have moved to a higher level. With his absence, it gives the board a chance to look at what direction to go with the next director. The chamber board is inviting input from chamber members and I encourage you to attend one of the focus groups next week at the following times:

  • Monday, August 5 at 4:00 p.m. at the MCC Student Union
  • Tuesday, August 6 at 8:00 a.m. at Sehnert’s
  • Wednesday, August 7 at 9:00 a.m. at the Keystone 3rd Floor Training Room
  • Thursday,  August 8 at 12:00 noon at Citta’ Deli

Rural Nebraska is changing. We need to work to control our destiny locally. We can’t wait for someone from the outside to come in and save us. With this being the case, it is important for us to continue to look to regional, state, and national partnerships where we can work with other organizations and institutions to keep moving McCook forward.

June 2019 Director Update

AREA News, News - 06.26.19

Every five years, MEDC recertifies with the Nebraska Department of Economic Development as an Economic Certified Community. This designation helps identify McCook as a community that is open to business and doing the right things to attract and develop our local economy. A part of this requires us to look back at what has happened the last five years. Even though I’ve only been in this role a year, MEDC has accomplished a lot in the last five years. Here’s a sample:

  • At the Business Park, we’ve welcome Booe Machinery and Salvage, Next Generation, and Lopez Service and Repair with over $10 million in capital investment and around 15 jobs created.
  • The Keystone Business Center has seen 20/20 Technologies, Chipperfield Ag Erectors, Southwest Environmental Engineering, and New Frontier Agriculture grow from office spaces to having their own locations.
  • MEDC’s involvement in the Hormel Entrepreneurship Competition has provided for business plan education for 42 entrepreneurs, $90,000 in business grants awarded, and 80% of contestants reporting that they are still in business and have seen revenue growth since the competition.
  • Investment in a hotel study resulted in the addition of the Cobblestone and Holiday Inn Express.
  • LB 840 gap financing loans helped provide for business expansion for American Ag Labs, startup assistance for Heat 2 Toe Spa, and transition loans for McCook Laundromat and Aphrodite Hair.
  • LB 840 façade grants of $113,000 combined with private investment of $387,000 to add $500,000 in façade improvements to McCook businesses.
  • Using tax credits, Tax Increment Financing (TIF), and LB 840 loans, the addition of Quillan Courts and Clary Village provided for 32 new housing units in the community.
  • TIF assisted with the development of six new workforce housing units in the North Pointe development.

These accomplishments were created as individuals and private companies chose to invest and grow in the McCook. It was the individual effort of business owners to make this happen and MEDC continue to look at where we can provide assistance by creating the site or the financial package to help in the development. Our board is looking forward to continuing to bring development to grow the area. There were also a few other updates from the last month.

Workforce/Internships – We continue to have conversations with the school, college and local businesses to develop internship programs and exposure to the opportunities available locally. If you are a local business owner and would be interested in a high school or college intern during the school year or summer, let me know so we can help develop a program to meet your need.

Retail – Our consultant from Retail Strategies was in McCook this last month, scouting locations for national retailers. We are working with Retail Strategies to identify national retailers that would be interested in McCook and then to start the conversation about opening in McCook. Based on traffic counts, national retailers value land along highway 6/34 west of Norris and North Highway 83 up to J St. One challenge with this location is there isn’t a lot of space to be developed in this area.

If you have questions or thoughts reach out to me at 308-345-1200 or andy@mccookne.org. Our list of accomplishments from the last five years has been good, but we are planning and doing the work to develop an even better list to write about five years from now.  Combining the hard work and resourcefulness of individuals with the assistance we can provide, this growth can happen.