The Sidney Sun-Telegraph - Serving proudly since 1873 as the beautiful Nebraska Panhandle's first newspaper

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By Forrest Hershberger
Publisher Sidney Sun-Telegraph 

More Than Recruiting

Chamber, Economic Development, Work to Support Entrepreneurs


February 3, 2021 | View PDF

Growing a community's economy involves recruiting businesses from outside of the area, “selling” them on what the local downtown has to offer. It also involves supporting the entrepreneur whose name is not yet in a few states and several cities.

The Cheyenne County Chamber of Commerce and the City of Sidney Economic Development Office are working together toward developing a Downtown Business Association.

In the January 26 city council meeting, Sidney's Economic Development Director Melissa Norgard presented her update during which she explained the effort to form the Association The first meeting is scheduled for 8:30 a.m. February 16 at the Sidney Elks Lodge. The effort includes establishing branding, working with businesses and cross marketing.

“I want to reiterate. This is not to replace the Chamber,” Norgard said.

The Downtown Business Association region is along Illinois Street from 23rd Avenue east, and south to Jackson Street.

Among the projects the Economic Development Office is involved in is revisiting the concept of a “downtown meeting space.” She said a revised concept may not include a water park, but may have attractions not previously considered.

In her report, Norgard also noted that the City is working with Joseph R. Hugley and Farris Engineering regarding the Elks Lodge and the awarded CDBG grant. The $400,000 grant will be used for ADA updating of the building's bathrooms and historic relevance.

“The project should be ready to be sent out in late February,” she said.

The housing study, funded by a $10,000 grant, is being conducted by RDG Planning and Design out of Omaha. The initial meeting is planned for February.

Norgard also reported $178,000 of LB840 funds helped six local companies in the last six months, and 21 businesses were assisted with the local COVID assistance funds.

Cheyenne County Chamber of Commerce CEO and President Hope Feeney presented her quarterly report, noting most of the Chamber staff's visits involved how to bolster business.

The Chamber has also released a questionnaire. The Chamber's questionnaire asks questions including what kind of services are needed in Sidney, do you do most of your shopping in the county and why, do you buy online, what kind of restaurants would you want to see in Sidney, what kind of services, and entertainment. She said there have been 368 responses as of Jan. 26. The survey has been promoted in the Sidney Sun-Telegraph and the Chamber's website.


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