Filling the retail void, community leaders in Ord break ground on a pair of projects.
"Ord's a community on the move," economic development director Trevor Lee said.
Turning the ceremonial shovels on Tuesday, community leaders illustrated how they didn't waste time filling the void when a national chain left town.
Lee said, "It was a year ago today that Alco Stores filed for bankruptcy and led to imminent closure of about 200 stores across the country. We go to hustle, while Shopko wants to do 20–30 new stores in 2016, we're the only ones moving right now, so we're really proud of that."
Without a place to buy home goods, the economic development director said local spending dropped eight percent.
"And while they were out of town they were getting products and service we do have here – fuel, food, pharmaceuticals, health care, all those kinds of things. It wasn't just the retail sector that suffered, and not just the retail sector that will benefit from this project," Lee said.
Oppiden Investment Company, the developers of the Shopko Hometown store will benefit from $575,000 in tax increment financing, as will its new neighbor.
Janie Zadina of Ord Hotel Group LLC explained, "It's going to be a two story hotel, Cobblestone Inn and Suites and we're going to have a large convention center that will accommodate over 500 people."
Ord has an economic development program approved by voters, where some local sales tax dollars help fund an incentive program, that's kicking in a $600,000 loan to get the hotel going.
Zadina said, "Couldn't do it without all of those tools, been a major project and we needed every one of those players and we're so grateful we have that type of people in Ord that want to continue to a goal of continued growth."
Lieutenant Governor Mike Foley praised Ord for this pair of projects.
"If we're truly going to grow Nebraska, we're going to need vibrant robust communities like Ord, Nebraska," he said during the groundbreaking ceremony.
Zadina said the hotel she's a part of took years to reach this point, and she appreciates the economic development group, city council, and all those who have supported the project.
She said, "Ord continues to prosper and grow and we want to make sure that continues well into the future."
Work on both projects begins soon, and both should be open for business next year.
They are located near Trotter's Whoa and Go and Arby's on Highway 11 on the south side of Ord.