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York honored for success in Economic Development Certified Community Program
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York honored for success in Economic Development Certified Community Program

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city receives award

Accepting an award from the Nebraska Department of Economic Development for the city’s continued success in the Economic Development Certified Community Program were council members, city administration and YCDC. Pictured are (from left) Matt Wagner, Sheila Hubbard, Jerry Wilkinson, Tony North, Sue Crawford, Barry Redfern, Lisa Hurley, Jeff Pieper, Jennifer Sheppard, Scott VanEsch, Charley Campbell and Christi Lones.

YORK – This past week, the City of York was honored by the Nebraska Department of Economic Development (NDED) for its continued success in the Economic Development Certified Community Program.

DED’s Central Nebraska Business Development Consultant Kelly Gewecke attended the York City Council meeting to make a presentation, recognizing the economic development efforts for business and industrial site expansions in this community.

“More than $60 million in business investments in the City of York have created a national platform for new development and have earned accolades from the state of Nebraska,” Gewecke said. “York is definitely doing so much. You do a tremendous job. I love being in York and hearing about all the exciting things that are taking place. This is quite a prestigious award and I’m excited to be here to present it to all of you.”

A press release from DED said: “York is one of 40 Nebraska communities to earn EDCC status in the program, sponsored by the Nebraska Diplomats and administered by DED. State officials established the EDCC program in 2005 to recognize communities for preparedness to attract new industries and grow existing businesses. As part of the certification process, qualifying cities and villages must identify a well-defined program that `engages with their existing business community to offer a supportive environment for welcoming new economic development projects. This includes documenting available sites and buildings, developing local financing and incentive programs and creating ongoing strategic planning for economic growth. York received its original EDCC certification in 2011 and earned recertifications in 2016 and 2021.

“Over the past five years, city leaders and members of York County’s Development Corporation (YCDC) have continued in building a partnership geared towards business recruitment and expansion efforts. In 2020, York Cold Storage announced plans for a $5 million expansion project to further strengthen the company’s supply chain and storage capabilities for ice, frozen foods, and bulk materials for pet food and pharmaceutical products. Additional project collaborators included the Southeast Nebraska Development District (SENDD) and DED via a state-administered Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) for economic development. The expansion project resulted in 13 new jobs at the facility.

“YCDC celebrated the opening of the McLean Beef meat locker in York in 2021. The harvesting and meat market facility is an extension of the four generation McClean family’s cattle business in Benedict.

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Nebraska Diplomats President Tim O’Brien said Nebraska EDCC leaders consistently value opportunities to create diverse business portfolios in their communities.

“Local, regional and state collaborators understand that it is essential to generate development within a variety of industries to build a viable workforce,” O’Brien said. “Nebraska’s EDCC’s often serve as springboards for growth in new and expanding businesses, which in turn create jobs and economic sustainability in their communities. We commend leaders in the City of York and YCDC for their continued success in our EDCC program.”

Also, starting in 2017, the city partnered with YCDC to complete due diligence, master planning and marketing of a 34-acre industrial site. This included in 2020 a virtual fly-over video and virtual reality video of a virtual spec building, which resulted in a 2021 International Economic Development Council (IEDC) Award for multi-media production to showcase the site’s virtual spec building. IEDC's Excellence in Economic Development Awards recognize the world's best economic development programs and partnerships, marketing materials, and the year's most influential leaders. YCDC earned a silver ranking in IEDC’s Multimedia/Video Promotion category. The group’s 25 award categories honor organizations and individuals for their efforts in creating positive changes in urban, suburban and rural communities. IEDC received more than 500 submissions from four countries in 2021.

“The York community and our partners are dedicated to welcoming new and expanding businesses through creative marketing efforts, which is an important aspect of Nebraska’s EDCC program,” said YCDC Executive Director Lisa Hurley. “We are excited to continue to grow as a newly recertified EDCC community.”

CDBG funding for Downtown Revitalization (DTR) has resulted in the completion 22 façade and code improvements projects in the downtown district. DTR efforts have been supported by more than $1 million in public and private investments.

Community leaders have also prioritized housing development efforts since York’s 2016 EDCC recertification. Local investments have created 96 new rental housing units and the completion of seven purchase/rehab/resale units. York leaders continue to create additional opportunities for development on new housing lots in the community.

“Congratulations to the City and YCDC for York’s recertification as an Economic Development Certified Community,” said York Mayor Barry Redfern. “EDCC’s are a special group of communities that are ready, willing and able to handle economic development, and we look forward to creating ongoing opportunities for growth.”

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