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

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By Forrest Hershberger
Publisher, Sun-Telegraph 

City Council Backs Business Promotions Plans


November 3, 2021 | View PDF

In baseball, “if you build it, they will come.” In community development, if you provide a reason for “them” to build it, artists and collectors will come.

That is the hope of a proposal approved by the Sidney City Council in the Oct. 26 meeting. The program is called “Energizing Entrepreneurial Ecosystems,” E3 for short.

Sidney Economic Development Director Kim Matthews presented a proposal that could move Sidney toward having its own certified creative district. The program includes listening to, and supporting entrepreneurs who want to do the building.

On October 13, the Nebraska Community Foundation announced a program designed to energize entrepreneurial programs. The E3 program is a three-year community building entrepreneurial ecosystems in Valley County, Holt County, Keith County, Sidney, Red Cloud and McCook, according to the Foundation's account. Dozens of leaders from the six participating communities met in Ord, Neb., on Sept. 30 - Oct. 1.

“We’re delighted the community of Sidney is joining five other Nebraska communities in pursuing entrepreneurship as an economic development strategy. Sidney has several start-up and growth-oriented entrepreneurs and this peer-driven process should help these businesses and Sidney grow and thrive,”said Jeff Yost, president and CEO, Nebraska Community Foundation.

In the tour, Sarah Sinnett, vice president of marketing and technology at G.L. Huyett in Sidney, noted that no one person is responsible for economic development; it is a community effort. The E3 program stresses partnership and mentoring of business owners. Organizers say the program is different from past efforts aimed at growing entreprenurism because it is locally-driven, community-centric and framed with an abundance mindset—a philosophy known worldwide as asset-based community development, according to the Foundation's website.

Creativity isn't limited to colors on canvas, metals sculptured into something of the imagination. Sometimes it is when the left brain and the right brain meet in the middle and devise a plan. The City City Council approved a proposal on Oct. 26 for the city to move ahead in becoming a certified creative district.

LB 943, a bill to create certified creative districts across the state, was approved by the Nebraska Legislature in 2020, providing $1 million of appropriations for the Fiscal year 2022-2023 state budget. The council approved submission of a letter of intent to become a creative district. A creative district is more than an area dedicated to art galleries and studios. A creative district should house innovation of many varieties. If Sidney is invited to complete the second step and become a certified creative district, the City will be awarded a grant of $10,000. The City will then be invited to request up to $240,000 for the following fiscal year.

Council also approved the appointment of Tanya Lewis to the Library Board and reappointment of Scott McDaniel to the Housing Board.

The council also approved the Cheyenne County Chamber of Commerce Parade of Lights scheduled for Dec. 3. The request is for the closure of Highway 30/Illinois Street 3:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. between 12th Avenue and 8th Avenue.


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