Goals such as improving business opportunities for young people and stabilizing population are common among rural Nebraska communities.
A team approach has been taken in Ord and Valley County to accomplish these goals and more, said Caleb Pollard, 29-year-old executive director of the Ord Area Chamber of Commerce and Valley County Economic Development Board.
Pollard was invited to a joint meeting of the Albion Economic Development Corp. and Albion Chamber of Commerce last Thursday, June 21, at the Junction Restaurant. He leads the development efforts aimed at “growing our own” businesses using a Hometown Competitiveness model. One major effort now underway is to establish a Central Community College campus in Ord, featuring a Rural Entrepreneurship Academy.
Pollard’s office operates with a total budget of $187,000. Funding and in-kind support comes from the city, county, Ord Area Chamber and Greater Loup Valley Activities, Inc. through an interlocal agreement. Participating communities, in addition to Ord, are Arcadia, North Loup and Elyria. The budget covers all operating costs, and grants are sought only for special projects.
Development goals are:
- Help businesses prosper and grow;
- Increase job opportunities;
- Encourage an orderly expansion and development of all segments of the community;
- Contribute to the overall economic stability of the community;
- Promote the nation’s private enterprise system of competitive marketing.
The county has attracted 80 new businesses in the past five years, and most of them are “home grown,” he said.