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Diverse Industry Growth Solidifies Gering as Economic Leader
Nebraska Ag Connection - 09/17/2021

Innovative efforts in the city of Gering (pop. 8,254) to expand businesses and enhance recreational and tourism opportunities continue to support economic growth in western Nebraska. This week, the Department of Economic Development (DED) recognized Gering's ongoing membership in Nebraska's Economic Development Certified Community (EDCC) program. DED Western Nebraska Business Development Consultant and Gov. Pete Ricketts' West Central Director, Brittany Hardin, honored local leaders during a special presentation yesterday.

Gering is one of 40 Nebraska communities to earn status in the EDCC program, which is sponsored by the Nebraska Diplomats and administered by DED. State officials established the 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 actively 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. The community received its original EDCC certification in 2010, and earned program recertifications in 2015 and 2021.

Over the past five years, $14 million in local and regional investments have supported two industrial business development projects locally. Crossroads Cooperative recently completed a $9.3 million expansion in Gering's Pioneer Trails Industrial Park, which serves as one of 12 company locations in Nebraska and Wyoming. As the park's first official tenant, the company and community are working collaboratively to develop rail access at the site to support future development.

In 2020, fabricated metal manufacturer CS Precision completed a $4.7 million building and equipment expansion. The project will assist in the retention of 66 jobs in the Gering area.

"As employers and economic developers continue to implement strategies to prepare Nebraskans for new career opportunities, developing our talented, existing workforce is also essential," said Nebraska Diplomats President Tim O'Brien. "As members of Nebraska's EDCC program, Gering leaders recognize that current employees are often already invested in their community, and they can be a great catalyst for future growth."

Gering's elected and volunteer leaders continue to prioritize community development through diversity in growing industries. Efforts to enhance western Nebraska's travel and tourism sectors resulted in a $7 million building renovation of the now-open Hotel 21. Completion of the Gering Civic Plaza in 2019 included a new stage, lawn, fire pits, temperature-controlled restrooms, a covered parking area and new landscaping downtown.

A $1.5 million Oregon Trail Park Stadium project, completed in 2018, now hosts an exhibition wood-bat baseball league. With a capacity of 1,400, the stadium provides several different seating options, including stadium seats, bleachers and two-party decks. During its inaugural year, stadium attendance averaged more than 900 people per game. After lower pandemic-related attendance in 2020, the 2021 season turned out more than 1,000 spectators per game.

Evolving economic partnerships between western Nebraska communities continue to emphasize regional development efforts. For example, collaborative investments from the Cities of Gering and Scottsbluff, and the State of Nebraska, resulted in the completion of metal sheet manufacturer Prime Metals' $2.8 million business recruitment project. The project was completed in 2020.

Gering's leaders look forward to creating unique development opportunities as part of Nebraska's EDCC program.

"The City of Gering is pleased to learn that we have once again successfully met the requirements to remain a Nebraska Economic Development Certified Community," said Gering Mayor Tony Kaufman. "This is a tremendous program that helps to promote and recognize communities like Gering that strive to be leaders in economic development in the great state of Nebraska. We look forward to continuing our partnership with the Nebraska Department of Economic Development to help grow Gering and Nebraska."


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