Local leaders’ evolving commitment to innovative business incentive programs, façade improvements, and workforce development received recognition from the State of Nebraska. Yesterday, the Department of Economic Development (DED) announced the City of Kimball (pop. 2,360) as the newest members of Nebraska’s Leadership Certified Community program (LCC). DED Business Development Consultant Brittany Hardin honored City officials during a special presentation at Kimball’s City Council meeting on Tuesday, August 18th.
Kimball is one of 29 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 LCC’s 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. This is the City of Kimball’s first certification in Nebraska’s LCC program.
Over the past year, the City has invested nearly $1 million in its business incentive programs. Kimball’s Local Option Municipal Development Act (LB840) loan program authorizes incorporated cities and villages to collect and appropriate local tax dollars for economic development. The funds recently assisted in the redevelopment and renovation of a premier full-service RV park, High Point RV Park, which includes showers, a store, and 15 full RV hookups. High Point RV Park has plans for expanding their business plan and RV spaces. Other businesses within the City who have utilized LB840 loan assistance include: The Sagebrush LLC, which includes a restaurant, lounge, and 400-person event area has plans to open in September 2020; Karen’s Kitchen, a family restaurant which offers home cooked meals from the menu and daily specials.
Another LB840 incentive is the City of Kimball’s Infrastructure Improvement Grant Program provides up to $15,000 in assistance for local business owners who invest in ADA compliancy, energy efficiency, electrical or plumbing updates, or building code improvements. In addition, the community’s Façade Improvement Grant Program encourages upgrades to the exterior appearance of buildings located within the City of Kimball. Businesses who have used this incentive to improve their business include: Beer and Loathing, George Risk Industries, Woody’s Liquor, Sportsman Liquor, Kimball Auto Parts, Kimball Bakery and Merrycakes (featured as a 2020 stop on the Nebraska Tourism Commission’s Nebraska Passport Program), and other businesses within the downtown area of Kimball.
A progressive and forward-thinking local contractor, Hays Roofing and Siding, is currently renovating the Longhorn Building, which served as a long-term downtown business in the early 1900’s. The Longhorn Building was previously the Longhorn Restaurant and sat empty for over 20 years prior to Hays Roofing and Siding taking ownership. Hays Roofing and Siding has utilized both the Façade Improvement and Infrastructure Improvement Grants to renovate this historical building. Once completed, the building will house a fitness center, nutrition bar, and several upper-level, upscale apartment units.
As business development, façade and infrastructure improvement projects continue, local leaders continue to find innovative ways to market Kimball as a business and family-friendly community. This includes the creation of a “Kimball High Point of Nebraska Guidebook”, sponsored by local businesses, to highlight area attractions and business information.
Mayor Keith Prunty says a multi-year long commitment among City staff, leaders, and community members has led to Kimball’s new status as an LCC.
“The City of Kimball appreciates the hard work from our Economic Development Department in their efforts to become a Leadership Certified Community in Nebraska,” said Prunty. “This certification will benefit the City as another tool to modernize and redevelop various areas within our community.”
For additional information about the Leadership Certified Community (LCC) Program,
contact Kelly Gewecke at firstname.lastname@example.org, 308-627-3151, or visit