Archive for the ‘Photo Feature’ 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.

McCook, Benkelman, and Cambridge chosen for Innovative Housing Program

AREA News, News, Photo Feature - 06.26.19


Unique, exciting and replicable: three adjectives that aptly describe the projects that have been awarded funding under the DED-administered Nebraska Affordable Housing Trust Fund (NAHTF) Innovative Housing Demonstration Program.

The Nebraska Department of Economic Development (DED) administers the NAHTF program annually to support communities in their efforts to develop quality, affordable homes. This, in turn, promotes economic growth by empowering communities to attract and retain working residents.

On one hand, it was business as usual in 2018 as DED announced the award of 28 NAHTF applications for the annual program cycle — though “business as usual” hardly applies to a program that has helped to develop thousands of housing units across Nebraska since its inception in 1996. On the other, this year saw DED administer approximately $1.35 million from the NAHTF in an entirely new way.

Under the Innovative Housing Demonstrative Program, DED challenged community stakeholders to find creative and effective ways to address their local housing needs.

“With NAHTF funding still available, we were able to do something out of the ordinary and issue a request for proposals,” said DED Director Dave Rippe. “What we were searching for were innovative, ‘outside-the-box’ methods for addressing community housing issues; projects that would not only accomplish local objectives, but that would do so in a way that has perhaps not been done before in Nebraska, and that could potentially serve as a model for other communities.”

As anticipated, the economic development community delivered in spades.

“We received 33 proposals under the new program, and the quality of proposals made selecting a short list of finalists a difficult task,” Rippe said. “We are consistently impressed by the work of our peers in the housing and economic development communities. They provide outstanding service to our state, and are a driving force behind Nebraska’s growth.”

Ultimately, DED selected two economic development organizations and a local municipality to receive funding under the Innovative Housing Demonstration program. All projects will benefit persons who are at or below 120% of their area median income, as determined by the U.S. Census Bureau.

The Omaha-Council Bluffs Metropolitan Area Planning Agency (MAPA) will receive $450,000 to support a project that involves transforming unused, dilapidated buildings on the now-vacant Dana College campus into a variety of affordable housing options. The initial award will support the renovation of a former dormitory into a dozen apartments.

“This project is a tremendous and creative example of adaptive reuse,” Rippe said. “It, like the remaining two projects, will also harness revolving loan funds. This means the impact of our initial investments will create a ripple effect to support new investments and projects.”

In southwest Nebraska, McCook Economic Development Corporation was awarded $405,600, which it will use to finance a unique revolving loan fund created in partnership between the communities of McCook, Benkelman and Cambridge. While DED’s initial investment will fund the construction of two single-family units, the partnership framework creates a scenario where each community pitches in and everyone benefits.

“This is a project where three independent communities have come to the table with a shared vision and formed a strong, concerted plan of action,” Rippe said. “It’s a terrific example of what can be accomplished through the power of partnerships.”

Last but not least, the City of Superior will receive $500,000 to support its BOOM (“Building Owner Occupied Momentum”) initiative. This will see the City experiment with a variety of traditional and non-traditional housing options — including prefabricated container homes and cottages — to attract and accommodate families and young professionals. The initial award will support the construction of six new infill units. As homes are sold, proceeds will be used as revolving loans for additional housing activities.

“Sometimes non-traditional progress calls for non-traditional approaches,” Rippe said. “In Superior, housing leaders are finding ways to extract the biggest bang out of every investment in the community housing stock. As with each of the Innovative Housing Demonstration projects, we’re excited to see this come to fruition.”

More information related to the Innovative Housing Demonstration program is slated for release as projects are completed. In the meantime, keep following DED for the latest news and information on the NAHTF and other economic development programs.