Patience and Preparation Key to Recruiting Business

24 Nov 2015

With the Phelps County Development Corporation’s top priority of retaining current businesses, the sale of land to Janssen Ford was a perfect fit.


“It’s great,” PCDC Board Member Tim Anderson said of the sale. “I think it will be put to good use. It’s highly visible. We are glad we could help them (Janssen’s) out and get it done.”


Anderson said HIDC (Holdrege Industrial Development Corporation) had purchased that parcel 30 years ago from the developers of the nearby trailer park. Four years ago, when HIDC disbanded, the organization turned the 5.53 acres of ground over to PCDC for business and industrial recruitment.


“We’ve had some other inquiries throughout the years,” Anderson said. But, local development officials wanted to be sure any business that located there was a good fit for the community – one that didn’t cause air or noise pollution and that would enhance current businesses.


“That’s why this economic development stuff is tricky,” Anderson said.

He said HIDC owned the land Scoular purchased recently for more than 40 years before the right match came along.


“We had to find the right fit,” Anderson said. “It’s not like it sat out there for all these years with no one interested in it. It’s got to be a good fit for our community, and it’s got to fit in with the industry that is here.”


Anderson said cash proceeds from the sale to Janssen Ford will now be reinvested back into PCDC to help more local businesses.


The parcel that Janssens purchased was the last available ground owned by PCDC besides the new 134-acre Iron Horse Business and Industry Park.


Anderson said it will be important to ensure that Iron Horse is “ready to go” for any potential businesses so they don’t have to wait for easements or utilities, etc. That will increase the chances of a quicker sale.


A portion of LB840 half-cent sales tax funds would go toward constructing infrastructure for Iron Horse.


“I’ve been doing economic development for 40 years,” Anderson said. “If you don’t have something to show them, they are going to drive right through your town.”


Written by Kristine Jacobson for PCDC