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Nebraska Ag News Headlines
Minden Honored in Leadership Certified Community Program
Nebraska Ag Connection - 09/23/2021

Infrastructure and faƧade improvements spearheaded by community and business leaders in the city of Minden (pop. 3,118) have earned continued recognition from the State of Nebraska. This week, the Department of Economic Development (DED) announced the City's recertification in Nebraska's Leadership Certified Community (LCC) program. DED Central Nebraska Business Development Consultant and LCC Program Director Kelly Gewecke honored City officials during a special presentation this week.

Minden is one of 31 Nebraska communities to qualify for DED's LCC program, created in 2011 to help villages and municipalities adapt to ongoing changes and opportunities in economic development. Certified communities must demonstrate an understanding for and preparedness in strategic planning, and display readiness in technological development to help new and existing businesses grow. Qualifying LCCs earn status in the program for five years, and are required to maintain community websites to market local development, which may include information on available sites and buildings and regional employment opportunities. DED announced the City's original certification in 2015 and its recertification in 2021.

"The City of Minden is honored to continue being recognized as a Leadership Certified Community in the State of Nebraska," said Mayor Ted Griess. "It is a privilege to be part of an impressive group of 30 other communities in the LCC program, which enables communities to promote positive growth through numerous economic development opportunities."

Over the past five years, the Minden Beautification Committee has consistently worked to enhance the unique allure of Minden's Downtown Square through walkway, light pole and storefront improvements. The community recently completed a $500,000 sidewalk improvement project on Colorado Avenue, which widened pedestrian areas between 4th and 5th Streets.

City leaders worked collaboratively with the State of Nebraska and DED to utilize a $350,000 Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) for downtown revitalization in 2019. Downtown improvements included commercial rehabilitation, public facility improvements and the removal of architectural barriers near downtown buildings. City Administrator Matt Cederburg said extensive input from Minden's business community helped tailor the project to provide both beauty and functionality on the square.

"Strong leadership from the project's steering committee helped determine important quality of life improvements in our downtown square," Cederburg said. "After completing essential infrastructure work, the committee went on to create a faƧade grant program to help fund storefront upgrades. We are excited to encourage these business owners to continue investing in this historic area of our community."

Minden has a strong group of community volunteers who have dedicated countless hours to modernizing the city's welcome signs, updating the downtown square and improving other areas of the community. In 2020, the City hosted the 105th annual Christmas light celebration through Minden's 100 Years of Lights Committee. City and Chamber of Commerce officials share promotional efforts to showcase cultural and social events in the community, including the annual Christmas Pageant, now in its 75th year, as well as an annual street dance, Classic Car Show and Crane Festival.

Local student leadership programs focus on building relationships between Nebraska students, business leaders and the University of Nebraska-Kearney (UNK). The City's internship program, made possible through a partnership with UNK's Business School, provides community and government leadership training for college students. Additional work with UNK's Political Science Department contributed to improvements at more than 300 Minden properties through a local nuisance abatement program.

Evolving discussions with local employers through DED's Business Retention and Expansion program assist in the community's strategic planning.

"Having the opportunity to hear directly from businesses owners about successes and challenges they encounter is an essential part of our efforts to grow," Cederburg said. "The process clarifies areas to focus on for future development, which remains one of Minden's top priorities as a Nebraska LCC."


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