Blueprint delves into area's needs
Committee to meet, address goals
By Greg Wees
It’s called the Northeast Nebraska Regional Blueprint for Sustainability.
The 52-page document is the product of two years of work spearheaded by the Northeast Nebraska Economic Development District in Norfolk and involving over 60 municipal governments, agencies and organizations.
As the name suggests, it identifies needs, goals and action plans. Committees focused on education, economic development, the environment, housing and transportation. Work was funded by a $100,000 grant from The Sherwood Foundation.
As that endeavor wrapped up at a meeting last month in Norfolk, another effort was launched in the 17 counties of the development district.
It’s the Stronger Economies Together program administered by University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension with a $19,700 grant. Funds are from USDA Rural Development and also involve the Center for Regional Collaboration at Purdue University and the Southern Regional Development Center at Mississippi State University.
Some of the work will involve carrying on with the goals and action plans pinpointed in the blueprint. Now that the blueprint is done, the committees also will continue to meet and adress the goals, said Tom Higginbotham, director of the development district.
Coming up with a regional marketing plan will likely be a focus.
"That seems to be the consensus, to have a document out there, whether it's a website or brochure, that markets Northeast Nebraska--why we want you to come live here, move here, stay here, bring your family," Higginbotham said.
The grant from The Sherwood Foundation and cooperation among the partners made for a successful collaboration, he said. We had an excellent mix of folks," he said.
The website of the blueprint is www.nenedd.org/RegionalBlueprint_Home.html
Goals identified include:
• In education, implement new and promote existing training programs to meet business and industry workforce training needs.
• On the environment, write a regional environmental resource plan.
• For housing, address dilapidated housing through the clearing, demolishing and transitioning of mobile homes and consider other housing options.
• In transportation, see the completion of a regional expressway/four-lane highway system and encourage a regional transportation model analysis.
• For economic development and tourism, come up with a regional marketing plan, increase efforts on business development and housing, expand education’s role in people recruitment, and produce a plan for regional tours.
Economic Development District
111 S. 1st Street
Norfolk, NE 68701