Community leaders meet

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The goal of the meeting was to have those attending share their personal ideas for their organization as well as for the county, and see what similarities there were with other major organizations around Merrick County.

Those who spoke at the meeting were Chris Anderson, administrator for the City of Central City; Dan Poppe, president of the Merrick Co. Development Corp.; Chuck Griffith, executive director for the Merrick Foundation; Josh Cumston, superintendent for Nebraska Christian; Kendra Jefferson, executive director for the Central City Area Chamber of Commerce; Rex Weller, Merrick County Board of Supervisors; and Tad Hunt, Litzenberg Memorial County Hospital CEO.

Many of those who spoke shared similar ideas, in that local quality of life is the main point of interest throughout the community.
While several speakers addressed the need to “grow the county” while keeping those who live here happy, improving the quality of life should always be a goal.

A common reoccurring theme throughout the meeting was those were there wanted to find a way to “promote and grow the county.”

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Anderson discussed the city’s “Vision 20/20” plan, which discusses in detail the goals for which the city has for the coming years. In the plan, Anderson said he wants to “stabilize the population” of Central City, rather than see it on a decline. Anderson said that about ten houses a year are reaching the negative value criteria and for the city to break even, they will need to build about 10-20 houses per year.

Chuck Griffith talked about how the Merrick Foundation rated certain areas of concentration when deciding what to improve on first for the city. The 15 member board from across the county discussed and voted health and wellness programs should be first on that list. This area includes the hospital, fire/EMT, and active recreational opportunities. Facility development followed, while parks and recreation tied with education for third. The education area is concerned with post-secondary, career, community and workforce education.

Cumpston discussed how his school of Nebraska Christian could be integrated within the county. He discussed of possible ideas of his students job shadowing, or participating in projects around the county to better help those who are already working here.

It was the main goal of all those attending to try and keep those who are living in Central City here, while also bringing in more people to the county. More people would allow for more job opportunities and more business opportunities within the county.

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