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Economic Development

Economic Development

Keith County is a great place to live, work and play. We are fortunate to have a balance of all the major factors that aid and encourage existing businesses to grow and to attract new businesses to relocate here—plentiful land to develop, easy access to all modes of transportation, fiber-optic technology capabilities, quality workforce, abundant utilities and exceptional quality of life.

Availability of transportation in Keith County is excellent. We are served by a main line of the Union Pacific Railroad with 80 freight trains daily. Interstate 80 is located within Ogallala’s city limits. U.S. Highway 30, U.S. Highway 26 and Nebraska Highway 61 intersect in Ogallala—with a Highway 26/61 truck route west of Ogallala. Searle Field, Keith County’s municipal airfield, has two paved and lighted runways (5,100 feet and 3,700 feet), with charter service available. Trailways and Arrow Stage Lines provide daily service to Ogallala with both westbound and eastbound buses. The city of Ogallala also provides a public transit bus, for a small boarding fee, available to everyone (handicapped accessible).

Century Link is the local exchange carrier in the Ogallala area with a high-speed digital central office. Allo Communications has recently developed their fiber-optic telecommunications in the Ogallala area—with 50 Mbps download/upload standard offering to residences, up to 1G available to homes and businesses, and over 30 miles of fiber installed in Ogallala.

Availability of utilities is also excellent, with close access to an abundant supply of electricity, natural gas and water. The labor force of Keith County is well-known for its high work ethic and reliability, and easily draws from a radius of over 50 miles—providing a labor market of over 55,000. And of course, the western Nebraska quality of life is second-to-none here, with ideal recreational opportunities in boating, fishing, hunting, camping and golfing in Keith County.

It is a truly dynamic time in the growth and development of Keith County business. In the past two years, Keith County has welcomed more than 25 new businesses, three new owners for existing businesses, and nine major business expansions/ relocations. Some of the projects include: a brand-new, state-of-the-art expanded local campus for Mid-Plains Community College; a new $2 million facility for Tri-State Generation and Transmission; expansion to our community recreation center; a new Fed Ex operations site; and new fiber optic phone/internet/ tv company—Allo Communications. Building permits in Keith County increased from $1.5 million in 2010, to $5.7 million in 2011; and sales tax revenues have shown 10 consecutive months of improvement over the previous year. Ogallala’s downtown business district has also been awarded a Downtown Revitalization Grant in the amount of $350,000—improvement construction to begin in 2013.

business

Keith County also offers a tremendous balance of opportunities to new and existing businesses and entrepreneurs. West Central Nebraska Development District, an 18-county program with their main office located in Ogallala, has created a Business Incubator program to nurture the development of entrepreneurial companies, helping them survive and grow during the early years when they are most vulnerable.

AGRICULTURE
While we are obviously heavily influenced by our surrounding agricultural resources, we have a balanced influence of both farming (along the Platte Valley) and ranching (in the Sandhills) that offers unmatched diversity in agricultural opportunities. (See page 6 for more info)

MANUFACTURING
Ten manufacturing firms currently call Keith County home—some dating back to the 1940s. Ogallala’s long history with electronics continues today with American Shizuki/ASC Capacitors and Arnold Magnetic Technologies/Ogallala Electronics Division. Paxton is home to PVC manufacturer Titan Industries. Precision Machining does lathe and mill work production. Newer manufacturing industries include Ogallala Comfort Company with their development of milkweed fibers into fine quality down comforters and body care, Ogallala Bay Rum Company’s home-grown, vintage after shave and bath products, and RCS Software developing innovative solutions for the broadcasting industry.

tourism

TOURISM
Tourism is a major economic factor in Keith County. Nearby Lake McConaughy drew over 850,000 visitors in 2010, making it the third highest ranked visitor attraction in the state of Nebraska. Keith County also draws visitors each year to Front Street—famous for their saloon and annual summer revue, Mansion on the Hill, Boot Hill, Ole’s Steakhouse, the world-class Petrified Wood Gallery, and Walk of Fame attractions.

LOCAL ORGANIZATIONS
Keith County has an array of local organizations that stand ready to help facilitate business expansion and/or relocation.

• City of Ogallala Economic Development Office – Economic Development Coordinator Travis Haggard is ready to answer your questions, provide you with information for business relocation, expansion and available incentives. (www.ogallalaeconomicdevelopment.com)

• Keith County Area Development (KCAD) – A local non-profit organization that acts as a central resource to promote development, foster long-range planning and coordinate financial aid and incentives. (www.kcad.org)

• Ogallala/Keith County Chamber of Commerce – The Chamber is a member-based organization that works to “Prosper, Promote, Connect, and Represent Business in Keith County.” (www.explorekeithcounty.com)

• Community Redevelopment Authority (CRA) – The city of Ogallala’s CRA can offer Tax Increment Financing on qualified projects.

• Keith County Regional Economic Development Investment (REDI) Program – This program administers a revolving loan fund that is targeted to help small businesses that may not qualify for conventional financing.

• Along with those organizations, all municipalities located in Keith County (County Commissioners, city of Ogallala, villages of Brule and Paxton) are all fully committed to future economic development.

• NPPD Community Facts Book – http://sites.nppd.com/aedc/FactsBook/Ogallalabook.pdf

Come to play, come to stay in beautiful Keith County!

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