The City of Ord, which pioneered one of the first and few programs of its kind in the country, has now become the first community on the list to earn re-certification approval for a third time. The program is the Nebraska Economic Development Certified Community (EDCC) program, sponsored by the Nebraska Diplomats and administered by the Nebraska Department of Economic Development (DED). Ord received original EDCC certification in 2005, and earned re-certification in 2009, 2014 and now 2019.
In a Nov. 5 press release, DED credited several accomplishments and programs implemented in Ord that warrant continuation of our status as an EDCC. For example, the City of Ord and its partners have secured nearly $4.4 million in public and private sector grant funding over the last decade alone. In addition, the City of Ord and Valley County Economic Development have funded over $5.6 million in low-interest loans to 64 businesses located throughout Valley County, leveraging an additional $12 million in private investment. This loan program is supported by a 1% local option sales tax, which was first approved in 2001 and renewed by Ord voters in 2016.
Local investment in the hospitality and tourism industries also caught the eye of DED leadership. A local group of local investors and their partnership with the City of Ord and Valley County Economic Development resulted in the construction of the $5 million, 40-room Cobblestone Hotel and Trotter Event Center in 2016. As a result, Ord has hosted several statewide meetings at the 500-person convention center. This facility along with upgrades at the Airport Motel have increased the City’s lodging tax collections by 302 percent.
“Collaborative investments in Nebraska’s hospitality industry create outstanding marketing opportunities within our rural communities,” said Nebraska Diplomats President Dan Duncan. “As Ord’s new lodging facility continues to attract new regional visitors, the City is utilizing these additional funds for promotional and capital campaign projects. These local reinvestments are setting a pace for continued growth in the Ord community.”
Over the past several years, local leaders have focused on new housing and recreational developments. The City of Ord partnered with DED to construct a 37-unit housing development in southwest Ord, which has already resulted in the completion of 14 homes and six duplexes. In 2019, the City completed a $3.5 million pool project with assistance from a VCED-led fundraising campaign. The Alfred and Irma Burson Aquatic Center opened in 2019 and replaced Ord’s former, 41-year-old pool.
We want to recognize the significant private investment in our community that has led to new development and enhanced quality of life for our residents. Our community’s business and housing sectors have grown significantly since our original EDCC certification in 2005, and this is due in large part to people and businesses reinvesting in our community.