Study Reveals Campaign Support
10 May 2016
The Phelps County Development Corporation board has voted to move forward with a fund-raising campaign to support a five-year strategic plan after a recent feasibility study showed significant support.
“We have investors who believe in Phelps County,” PCDC Board President Fred Diedrichsen said of the report’s findings, which were shared with the board in April.
The study showed that a $1.1 million fund-raising campaign is attainable, but potential funders offered options to refine the strategic plan.
PCDC hired Convergent Nonprofit Solutions to gather input and determine if there was support for the original $3.9 million plan to increase population, spur housing development, support current businesses and add jobs to the county between 2017 and 2021. A portion of the funding would come from LB840 sales tax funds, which were approved in the November election, and remaining $1.5 million would come from investors.
Convergent representatives interviewed 86 individuals (some already connected to PCDC and others not connected) between February 22 and March 11.
While the analysis did not support a $1.5 million campaign, Convergent did find support for a $1.1 million fund-raising campaign. Investors gave $1.3 million five years ago in the Prosperity Project initial campaign.
Convergent suggested that PCDC develop a strategic plan comprised of projects that can be completed for $1.1 million with bonus add-on projects included if campaign goals are exceeded. That will be the first item on the agenda when the consultant arrives in Phelps County in June.
The interviews also gave PCDC valuable feedback on the direction it should take in the next five years.
While obstacles were stated, the analysis revealed that interviewees generally believed that PCDC has a positive reputation and solid record of accomplishment and has earned a “significant measure of public support.” It also showed that leadership interest in PCDC economic development efforts is strong and even in light of lower farm commodity prices, 69 percent of interviewees believed the county’s economy is good or excellent.
Convergent staff outlined three main obstacles to the county’s growth based on the interviews:
- lack of housing,
- low unemployment rate and
- lack of entertainment, shopping and restaurant variety to recruit younger workers to the county.
“While many people are convinced that Phelps County is an excellent place to raise a family, there are virtually no venues available to attract young adults to live in Holdrege,” the report stated.
Convergent recommended a program refinement task force to identify and confirm the most important five-year strategies based on the feasibility study input and to revise the budget accordingly.