People celebrating the event at Broken Arrow Cellars included, from left, Imperial Manor Administrator Eric Haider, City Clerk Jo Leyland, Council Member Johnna Jablonski, Council President Charlesa Kline, Senator Dan Hughes, Lt. Gov. Mike Foley, Community Development Director Jason Tuller, Council Member Doug Gaswick, DED Business Consultant Brittany Hardin, and Broken Arrow owners Steve and Debra Schilke. (Johnson Publications photo)
Imperial retains certified community status
Imperial has retained status for another five years as an Economic Development Certified Community (EDCC) with the Nebraska Department of Economic Development (DED).
Lt. Gov. Mike Foley was joined by DED Business Development Consultant Brittany Hardin in presenting the honor to Imperial Council President Charlesa Kline Aug. 10.
The presentation was made during a community coffee at Broken Arrow Cellars.
Foley stressed the importance of local leadership and innovation within Imperial’s business community resulting in the city’s ongoing success in economic development.
Imperial is one of 39 communities to earn EDCC certification which is sponsored by the Nebraska Diplomats and administered by the DED state officials.
Imperial originally earned the certification in June 2012 and earned recertification in July 2017. The program was established in 2005.
Foley said the program recognizes Nebraska communities that set an example for growth and outstanding leadership. Imperial has built the city’s reputation as an innovative area for economic development, he added.
“Over the past five years, the city has opened 25 new businesses and created 72 additional jobs. Since Imperial’s original EDCC recognition, these community additions contributed to $2,250,000 in new capital investment in the community,” he noted.
In addition, community leaders have encouraged and assisted in the expansion of eight existing businesses in Imperial.
Since 2012, these expansions created an additional 10 jobs and a net increase of $7,238,000 in capital investment.
Working with a housing developer, more than 20 new homes will have been added in the Cornerstone Development.
In addition, private developers constructed 10 more homes in other areas of the city.
Two new buildings have been added in Cornerstone Development Park, made possible in part through the city’s LB840 program.
The nationwide closure of Alco stores had a significant impact on Imperial’s sales market. Local leaders’ efforts to grow relationships with executives of nationwide retailer Bomgaars led to a site visit at the former Alco building. Within six months, Bomgaars opened an Imperial store at the site.
The city’s LB840 program also made it possible for a Colorado business owner’s expansion into Imperial with Broadway Steakhouse.
“Imperial has been known for many years as a progressive community,” Mayor Dwight Coleman said.
“It’s an honor to have a certification like the EDCC, which enables us to show others what we have done in Imperial and that we are ready to grow even more.”