Annual Meeting Set to Energize Investors to Continue Dreaming

Annual Meeting Set to Energize Investors to Continue Dreaming Main Photo

23 Feb 2022

“If We Build It, They Will Come. Place of Our Dreams.”

That is the theme for the Phelps County Development Corporation’s annual meeting on Thursday, March 31, at Holdrege’s new Sun Theater & Event venue.

The evening will be a celebration of dreaming big and will honor and inspire those who have invested in the future of PCDC and Phelps County.

“We want to set the stage for engaging the community and encourage community leaders to take responsibility for shaping the community for the future,” PCDC Executive Director Ron Tillery said. “Nobody else is going to come in here and do it for us. We are the ones who will have to make that happen.”

In addition to the regular annual business meeting, the evening will celebrate the 108 investors who pledged more than $1 million to support the work of PCDC for the next five years in the GROW37 Partnership Campaign.

“We set a new record for investment in PCDC,” Tillery said. “The net amount has pushed past the amounts of Prosperity Project 1 and Prosperity Project 2 so it’s been a very successful campaign. We have a few pending investments out there, so that number will increase when those come in. We have a really good story to tell.”

The GROW37 Partnership campaign started in early 2021 with the goal of raising funds to support PCDC’s five-year strategic plan to recruit targeted industries, support current businesses, improve the quality of life and create a strong brand.

The money raised in the campaign pays for PCDC administrative expenses so that LB840 sales tax funds are funneled directly to local economic development programs, such as GO! HOME, GO! DREAM and GO! BUSINESS grants, high-demand scholarships and Iron Horse Industrial Park expenses.

“One of the things that was different about this year’s campaign is that it was conducted by local people,” Tillery said. “We didn’t have an out-of-state consultant come in. We kept it internal with a local representative, and everything worked much better. I think the investors appreciated it and consequently, we exceeded our goal.”

Tillery said the newly renovated Sun Theater is an especially appropriate location for this year’s meeting and celebration.

“The Sun Theater is an important community landmark, and it has undergone a tremendous renovation,” Tillery said. “They are retaining some of the important historical details, but it's been modernized to accommodate events like ours. This is an opportunity to reintroduce the community to the Sun Theater and what it’s going to be for the next 100 years. We also want to celebrate the investment that Adjacent Entertainment (the owners of the Sun) has made in our community.”

Tillery said that Phelps Memorial Health Center created Adjacent Entertainment, LLC, to help fund important community activities instead of sending all of its net proceeds to investment vehicles outside of the community.

“They have chosen to reinvest in the community,” Tillery said. “We want to celebrate that concept and thank them for their investment while introducing our community to the new facility. It reinforces something that PCDC sees as important, and that is the downtown core of any community is the beating heart of a community. That’s what people judge the vitality of your community by. To have that kind of investment downtown is significant. We hope that other building owners downtown continue to invest. PCDC will continue to help businesses do that.”

The March 31 event will begin at 6 p.m. and will be by invitation only to PCDC investors and special guests. The cost is $25 per person. Theater food, including popcorn, hot dogs and Runzas, will be served. A cash bar will be available. After a short business meeting, guests will enjoy the “Field of Dreams” movie in the comfort of the newly renovated theater.

Tillery said he hopes the event inspires those in attendance to keep dreaming big about the future of Phelps County.

“We want to put an exclamation point on the campaign and the strength of our market; that we can do anything we set our minds to,”  he said.