Focus on growth

23 Nov 2015

Economic Growth, NGage Executive Director, Economic Development

For more than three years, Gage Area Growth Enterprise (NGage) has worked to enhance current businesses and draw new groups to the county.

The economic development group strives to help businesses stake their claim, and has several projects in the works.

One recent project NGage officials anticipate will be a significant asset to the area is an ongoing housing study to determine the area’s needs.

Glennis McClure, executive director of NGage, said the housing study was prompted by concerns from businesses regarding housing availability.

“As far as the businesses and industries around here, we discovered that one of the issues with people not ending up living here was because of some of the housing needs we have,” she said. “From that, it’s been a number of years since a housing study has been done in Beatrice and Gage County we embraced that idea to do a housing study. That is currently underway.”

The Gage County Communities Housing Study comes at a total cost of $30,000, half of which is being provided by the Nebraska Investment Finance Authority (NIFA). The study consists of various surveys being administered by Hanna:Keelan Associates.

The study includes examination of population, income and economic data, a housing stock analysis, strategies for affordable housing development and a five-year housing action plan.

It will also include funding options for future owner and rental housing development and housing rehabilitation projects in each community throughout the county, and hopes to gather input from a wide range of participants.

“The survey is for a broad range of folks,” McClure said. “We want young, old and everybody in between. Particularly, workforce housing to identify what their needs are. Hopefully from that we’ll have a pretty good idea. Once you have that data and information, hopefully we can find the investors and developers to help improve our housing stock, whether it’s rehab programs or building new.”

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