Dave Rippe To Speak at PCDC Annual Meeting
Wednesday, February 26, 2020
Hastings developer and former state economic development professional Dave Rippe will give the keynote address at PCDC’s Annual Meeting on March 19.
Rippe, who has been instrumental in the recent revitalization of downtown Hastings, will speak on the theme “Do Epic Stuff: Never Underestimate the Power of Thinking Small.”
Rippe is co-owner of Queen City Development Co., a consulting and development organization, and he previously served as the director of the Nebraska Department of Economic Development. Prior to that, he worked as the executive director of Hastings Economic Development Corporation. He has helped bring innovative solutions to Hastings by renovating buildings that had fallen into disrepair.
The downtown revitalization process in Hastings began more than 20 years ago, Rippe said, when the Community Redevelopment Authority (CRA) began acquiring properties, holding them and seeking proposals for redevelopment. Since 2003, any proposals for redevelopment were required to include redevelopment plans for all levels, not just the first floor.
Another key factor in the downtown Hastings revitalization was hiring a full-time development professional focused solely on downtown. Hastings also has incentives similar to Phelps County, including a revolving loan fund and a façade improvement program and fund. In 2014, Hastings launched a retail incentive program, again requiring comprehensive development of buildings.
Rippe said these changes can occur in other communities, but it still comes down to supply and demand.
“Whether or not downtown revitalization will happen in a given community and whether or not it will be sustainable is a function of the community's demand for it,” Rippe said. “Any investor in your community can go find a real estate deal somewhere in this state or elsewhere that will provide a safer and more liquid investment and likely a greater rate of return. For what greater purpose or reason should they assume the risk of investing their money in your community?”
PCDC Executive Director Ron Tillery said Phelps County is at a pivotal moment for growth and prosperity.
“Growth and change can cause anxiety, but we need to get used to it,” Tillery said. “The job of stimulating growth and change belongs to everyone.”
The PCDC Annual Meeting will also include the induction of two businesses into the Phelps County Business Hall of Fame: Becton-Dickinson and Glion Electric Scooters.
PCDC will conduct its annual business meeting at the event, which will include remarks by PCDC Board President Reed McClymont about the organization’s accomplishments in the past year.
The event will be Thursday, March 19, at the Holdrege City Auditorium. Social hour begins at 6 p.m. with a dinner and program at 6:45 p.m. The public is invited to attend. Advance tickets are $35 per person and can be reserved by calling Stacy Pafford at PCDC at (308) 995-4148. Tickets are $40 the day of the event.