Like many young adults as they venture off to college and beyond, I had no intentions of moving back to southwest Nebraska. However, now that I reflect on my time at University and living in another community, I realize I had more of a connection to southwest Nebraska than I lead myself to believe.
My connection with the people, the community, and the local architecture that inspired my pursuit toward degrees in Interior Design and Construction Management couldn’t keep me away for long and I am so pleased to be a part of the McCook community once again.
Living back in McCook, I quickly realized how tight our local real estate market was. My husband and I would need to be ready as soon as a home came on the market that checked all the boxes for our needs. I was most likely the first or second view for each new listing on Zillow and Realtor.
While I was able to look casually for our next home, not everyone has this luxury of waiting for a house to come on the market and that is a limiting factor in our community. It was time for me to “log out” of my remote job designing locally and across central Nebraska. It was time to “log into” the community where I would be raising my family.
When I learned that MEDC was adding a position solely focused on housing in the community, it felt like the perfect opportunity to be a part of the growth and change our community has been working toward.
Since joining the MEDC team in July, my days in this role have never looked quite the same. I go from discussing our local housing needs with contractors, developers, and even local businesses to speaking with other communities on their efforts and where they have seen success and lessons learned.
Conversations with other communities have been helpful in our efforts as we want to make the greatest impact in our community with the limited resources we have available. Building connections with other communities only helps strengthen McCook and Southwest Nebraska. The wonderful thing about Nebraska is that we all want to see each other succeed. Our small-town communities cannot thrive if Nebraska is not thriving as a whole.
Success isn’t visible overnight with economic development, but as we kick off 2023, we are focusing on getting all we can in place to make that visible progress for the community.
Over the past several months whether through the McCook Gazette or city council meetings, you probably have read about our efforts in expanding the North Pointe Addition. The annexation and platting processes were completed thanks to the support of the city and council and efforts from our board of directors.
Now we are working hard to get infrastructure in place to help development continue to take shape. If you follow us on social media, you may have also see projects we are getting off the ground. One is an apartment complex and the other is single-level-living duplexes.
While these projects are priorities, I am also keeping updated on the potential for other available opportunities to assist our community’s housing needs. Through a partnership with Southwest Community Betterment Corporation, funds are available to apply for down payment assistance once again thanks to an award of a grant through the Nebraska Department of Economic Development. Eligible applicants must be at or below 120% the area median income and the home will need to be the primary residence.
I have been making efforts to visit as many local businesses as possible to have discussions regarding how housing has affected our local businesses and their employees. If you are ever interested in having a conversation or sharing feedback, please do not hesitate to call, email, or stop by my office at the Keystone.
McCook Community Foundation Fund is proud to support the McCook Economic Development Corp., thanks to an anonymous multi-year donation for McCook’s housing program. For more information about the MEDC’s housing program, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 308.345.1200.