Governor Ricketts Praises Phelps County
Wednesday, October 26, 2016
More than $700,000 has been raised so far in the Prosperity Project II Campaign that kicked off on Thursday, October 13, at Allmand Brothers.
The kickoff event and celebration attracted nearly 90 local and state leaders and investors, including Governor Pete Ricketts, Department of Economic Development Director Courtney Dentlinger and State Senator John Kuehn.
Gov. Ricketts, who gave the keynote address, said he attended the celebration to encourage and support economic development efforts.
“You are doing exactly the right thing, which is why I am here,” he said. “We are here to support you.”
The Prosperity Project II campaign is part of the funding mechanism for an aggressive five-year strategic plan that will bring workforce housing, new business and jobs to Phelps County.
Ricketts said that companies who are looking to expand or bring business to Nebraska look at individual communities, not typically the state as a whole.
“This Prosperity Project is incredibly important for Phelps County,” he said. “It’s going to be your community that makes a difference on whether that company comes here or not.”
He was encouraged by the large attendance at the event.
“The difference between communities that do well and communities that don’t do so well is leaders, people who step up and want to make a change,” he said.
Ricketts said the state government wants to partner and support local economic development and hopes to provide new programs for middle-income housing projects, incentives to companies that offer higher-paying jobs and to create a friendlier business environment by improving processes and reducing red tape.
Ricketts praised PCDC programs that encourage youth to return to the county for future careers, such as the Connecting the Dots program and the High Demand Jobs Scholarships.
Dentlinger, who leads the state’s Department of Economic Development, said she often looks for communities to highlight for their good work in economic development.
“Holdrege and Phelps County are one of those communities that gets held up as an example,” she said.
Dentlinger grew up in the Norfolk area and moved to the East Coast after graduating from college.
“When I was a young person growing up in the state of Nebraska, no one told me about the opportunities right here,” she said.
She encourages local business leaders to share local success stories and reinforce the importance of the quality of life experienced in Nebraska.
Dentlinger said she also was impressed by the large attendance at the celebration.
“You’re going to grow because you are all here and you are invested and you are all coming together in a common mission,” she said.
Campaign Co-Chair Roger Allmand said PCDC was instrumental in helping Allmand Bros. in the past with the revolving loan fund and assistance with purchasing land.
Allmand said Phelps County residents are generous and caring as evidenced by a recent report showing that the county has the highest per capita giving level in the state.
“It’s a great place full of caring and giving people,” he said.
Reed McClymont, co-chair of the campaign, said the local ag community has a key role to play in economic development as well and that’s why he serves on the PCDC board and is helping lead the campaign.
Brian Deakin, HR leader at BD, said Phelps County has a “pioneering spirit” that started back when farmers first came to the area and continued when the community helped recruit BD to town 50 years ago and continues today as BD plans a $100 million investment into the Holdrege plant.
BD is one of the many local investors who have already pledged financial support to the campaign.