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PCD, Inc Annual Activities

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  • Diann successfully received a one-year extension on completion of the Downtown Revitalization program. Additionally, I have requested reallocation of the $41,000 remaining from the lighting program and place those dollars in façade improvement. This was approved later in the year.

  • Diann worked with Blue Ox and DED on a Site & Building Development grant for their expansion. This grant was awarded and will be reimbursed once expenditures including match have been met. This grant was awarded/spent/and reimbursed in 2022.

  • Diann reached out to Rose Baker at the Department of Economic Development regarding Customized Job Training for the Blue Ox expansion. As a result, Blue Ox was invited to participate in this grant funded program. Nathan from Blue Ox will work with DED on the program opportunities.

  • The 2021 Annual reporting was completed for the NIFA and DED housing grants that were awarded last year. ($250,000 and $600,000 respectively)

  • In early spring the sale of 26 acres of land from William Benson to Pender Community Development, Inc. was finalized. This land is south of Whitney Street west of the ball fields. PCD has begun working with ACES in West Point to get this land platted and have the engineering studies completed. 

  • I (Diann) completed the Lower Elkhorn NRD Recreation Area Development Grant for matching funds for the toddler equipment for the Village Park. (In 2021 PCD was given a substantial donation for toddler equipment for the Village Park from a Pender alum.) The LENRD grant was completed and dropped off at the Village Office for signature and was mailed on March 1, 2022. This grant was awarded – play equipment is here waiting to be installed by Village Maintenance.

  • Diann worked with Gabe Perez and Jason Dolliver to try to get murals on the Heyne field grandstand. Ultimately the School Board denied this request.

  • I (Diann) attended Community Health Conferences in Wayne multiple times throughout the year. These meetings were hosted by the Northeast Nebraska Rural Health Network with the focus of the meeting to be identifying health needs for this region to be the focus of their work in the coming years. The identified needs were Mental Health, education and transportation for area residents to obtain mental health assistance, and focusing on area deficiencies – housing; employees; and food insecurities. 

  • I met with Ann regarding the CCCFF grant for Community Centers / Libraries multiple times throughout the year. She would like to do a planning grant in January 2023. Prior to this we need to do a survey of the community needs. I have reached out to Andrea regarding this survey. I reviewed the multiple surveys that were provided as samples and compiled a list of items that I would like to include in the survey. Ann is taking these surveys to her Board for their opinions – then we will work with NENED on completing and providing a survey to the community.

  • I completed a draft of the Pender Thurston Community Education Foundation grant for development expenses related to the new housing addition. Approximately $29,000 was requested. I forwarded data to Derwin to review/tweak and then forward on to the Foundation Board. This grant was awarded later in 2022.

  • Diann worked with the new owners of the Legacy Gardens on potential grants and other new business opportunities. She connected Tim Keelan with the owners for assistance in remapping the blighted area to allow the building to utilize Tax Increment Financing.

  • I worked with USDA / DED / NENED on assistance for the Village of Thurston for emergency water repairs. They had significant well issues and were hopeful there would be some funding available for assistance – unfortunately, we have found nothing thus far. 

  • The community survey was created and disseminated throughout the community both in paper copy and electronically. We received 187 responses to the survey with results being shared with the community at a later date. 

  • Diann worked with the Thurston County Tourism Committee awarding grants for Tourism Improvement and Promotion grants in Thurston County amounting to $4,850. All dollars stay in Thurston County.

  • In the fall of 2022 construction began on Roberts Addition on the land west on Whitney and south of the ball fields. Some of the infrastructure will be completed to allow for townhomes to be built as soon as 2023.

  • The Community Reinvestment Authority (CRA) voted to authorize the bucket TIF dollars to be used for the lift station needed for the Roberts Addition – housing development. These dollars exceeded $190,000.

  • Diann assisted NENED in the preparation of the Letter of intent for a Land Development grant offered by DED requesting $1,000,000 for infrastructure for the new development. The grant application is actually due in January so we should hear pretty quickly if the LOI was accepted, and the invitation was extended to apply.


•      Diann completed the Pender Thurston Community Education Foundation Fund grant and submitted it in December for $5,000 to assist with the payment of the blight study and wages for extended hours for Diann for grant writing. This grant was awarded!

•      Diann worked with Andrea at NENEDD on the NIFA application. We have applied for $250,000 as matching funds for the Rural Workforce Housing Grant offered by DED.  All data was compiled and submitted to NIFA on December 28, 2020. These matching funds if awarded will be leveraged in the Department of Economic Development Workforce Housing Grant due in late January. This grant was awarded!

•      Diann assisted Andrea in the completion of the DED Nebraska Workforce Housing grant application. It was submitted on January 28th prior to the deadline. Awards will be announced in late April. If awarded, this grant will be for $600,000 with matching funds coming from NIFA and Pender Community Development, Inc. to establish a $1.2 million revolving loan fund to build work force houses in Pender. This grant was awarded!

•     The four remaining murals have been placed on the Pender Grain building going north out of town on highway nine. These five murals were partially paid for by the Tourism Improvement grant.

•      Diann worked with Jan at NENED and Mark at Penro on the sewer line road issue for the Village of Thurston. We explored many grant opportunities. At the March Board meeting - Thurston decided to have Penro do street maintenance and NOT apply for a grant. The grants were so large that the match at 25% was still significant. The street integrity was reviewed with a camera system and the damage was limited to a very small area – therefore, the grant application was not needed.

•     The Downtown Revitalization lighting program was awarded to Maise Electric. There was a pre-construction conference in March. There should be about $40,000 in overage from lighting that can be reallocated to the façade portion of the grant.

•      April 15th we were notified that the Rural Workforce Housing Grant was awarded to Pender for $600,000.

•      The Pender brochure was updated and available for distribution in time for the Alumni banquet. If anyone has a need there are many brochures available for use – contact Diann Ballard.

•     Phase Three of Façade Improvements was opened up in mid-March with applications and quotes due back to the City Office by April 30th. We had five Main Street businesses apply requesting over $47,000. All applicants were fully funded. We still have funds remaining. As the projects complete Andrea at NENED and Diann will determine funding remaining and open a Phase four, likely this fall.  

•     The DTR lighting program is completed, the walk through was completed with the City Engineer on June 1. Andrea is working with DED to complete the final invoices and reports for the lighting sector of this grant. Upon completion the additional unspent funds will be allocated to façade improvements; sidewalks; and/or a pocket park. The pocket park would be east of the Behavioral Health Building on 4th and Main.


  • The Down Town Revitalization grant was awarded for $445,000!  Jason did a great story about the award in The Pender Times. Diann worked with NENED on revamping the Guidelines we had submitted to DED.  They had sent them back with several concerns, we worked through these and updated with data that would meet DED requested specifications and resubmitted.  These were approved in late January. 

  • March 5th was the DTR Business Owner meeting to provide data to Main Street business owners regarding the façade improvement program.  Data is continually provided to Main Street businesses to promote this program.  The first round of applications is due to the Village office by April 17, 2020.  

  • The Pender/Thurston website has been completely revamped. We have updated this to be more targeted for the Economic Development spectrum with links going to other area pages.  Please check it out!

  • The TCLEC Arboretum grant is completed.  Rachel had several requests for additional data that were supplied in December.  The final reimbursement was set to be mailed in early January – the grant is officially closed. The check was received in early February. This award was for $24,015 with just over $16,000 being utilized. No cash was required for match as we exceeded match requirements with sweat equity!

  • Diann is working with Justin at the Center for Rural Affairs. They have a USDA grant that is meant to assist small businesses and would like to do another seminar in the fall in Pender, similar to the one we did in October. We are working on new topics; reaching the businesses; and potential dates. 

  • The Leadership Certified City application was submitted on March 26, 2020.  This was a major project that took quite a lot of time during this quarter.  This Certification gives us extra points with DED grants. With the current world issues I have no idea when we will hear back on whether or not we were re-certified.  

  • Diann continues to work with the Senior Center on ideas for handicap accessibility for the center to utilize some of the funds we have sitting in the previous REHAB fund.  I am working with Mandy on a timeline for the work and release of funds. We worked on the procurement policy for the Village and have determined we need to follow the State guidelines.  I have contacted several other contractors and am waiting on quotes from them to be reviewed by NENED.  We need to have a public meeting to release the funds and then we can move forward with the renovations. 

  • The DTR Application deadline for round one applications was extended to April 24th at 4:00pm. We had eleven businesses apply for building renovations.  The DTR Committee met on Tuesday April 28th and conferenced with NENED via telephone to review the applications.  We should see an estimated $240,000 spent on the Main Street buildings with roughly $162,000 coming from the DTR grant. This is only round one.  Each of these businesses are now working on DUNS and SAM registration; then will have an environmental review done of their building prior to construction beginning.

  • Thurston County Tourism Committee has money available for tourism promotion and tourism improvement grants. Diann continues to work with the Committee; the Board; and area groups on these grants; availability; and funding.

  • Currently Welcome Packets are available at the School; the City Office and the Community Center. With the new website we have decided to do a digital Welcome Packet. Jason from Sturek Media and Diann are working on this project currently.

  • The procurement for Engineering was sent out for the lighting portion of the DTR. The deadline for response was May 8th. **Note – this was necessary because the Village engineering firm has not been with the Village for the minimum three years. Therefore, it was sent to bid. Two responses were received and later scored by the DTR Committee. Olsson was awarded the project at the June Board meeting. 

  • Pender Economic Development owns a five-acre parcel of land west of the Nitzschke Ball Fields. We have requested that the City annex this parcel to allow for further housing expansion.

  • Phase Two of the Downtown Revitalization grant had six applicants that were approved for nearly $73,000 in early June. If all work is completed and all award money is spent, we will have about $65,000 available in round three. Our goal is to wait until this fall to do round three once we get work started on several of these buildings to hopefully inspire additional businesses. 

  • The Thurston County Tourism Committee approved three grant applications during the third quarter of 2020, all three for Pender projects. Canoe access was improved by dirt work done by Cooney’s and new signs being placed, Pender Grain will house five murals on their building along Highway 9, and Winter Snowflake decorations are being purchased to improve/beautify Main Street during the winter season.

  • In September, the Leadership Certified City Award was given to the Village of Pender. This is a significant designation only awarded to 29 communities in Nebraska. The program provides a solid framework for communities to identify capacity, stimulate focused planning, and utilize technology to build strong foundations and to meet the challenges of the future. 

  • PCD is working on additional housing options to the West. We have proposed a new redevelopment area and are researching the opportunity of utilizing TIF and other programs to facilitate growth in this area.

  • The Senior Center project is complete. I worked with Jan at NENED and Jim Rutar to try to expend all of the money in the Rehab account. According to Jan as long as the changes are to the asset and non-movable, we can do anything. Jim worked on additional change orders so the list of things to be completed include:

    • Handicap accessibility with a new ramp and handrails

    • New outside doors – wheelchair accessible

    • Removal of the outside ramp and outside stairs – replace with new steps

    • Repair of foundation from removing outside ramp and steps

    • Repair/sheet rock of east wall from deterioration caused by ramp installation

    • Bathroom renovations to be handicap accessible

    • Doorways inside the facility to be wheelchair accessible

    • New windows & blinds

    • Repair of the basement ceiling – due to destruction from ramp installation

    • Repair floor joist – needed for bathroom renovations 

    • New carpet   

    • Paint 

    • Northeast Nebraska Development District completed a blight study on another section of Pender. This redevelopment area number two will allow that area to utilize Tax Increment Financing for new projects in the Community.

    • Diann completed the Pender Thurston Community Education Foundation Fund grant and submitted it in December for $5,000 to assist with the payment of the blight study and wages for extended hours for Diann for grant writing. We have not heard back from the committee yet on their decision of fundability.

    • Diann worked with Andrea at NENEDD on the NIFA application. We have applied for $250,000 as matching funds for the Rural Workforce Housing Grant offered by DED.  All data was compiled and submitted to NIFA on December 28, 2020. These matching funds if awarded will be leveraged in the Department of Economic Development Workforce Housing Grant due in late January.


Diann is working with Sandy Renner from the Center for Rural Affairs on an Entrepreneurial Conference to be held in Pender.  It was supposed to be this Spring but scheduling has become an issue so it was moved to October.  This will be a great opportunity for potential new business owners to get some valuable data in a location close to home. 

  • Updated:  Diann and the Board completed working with the Hanna Keelan Staff to complete a new Housing Study and Comp Plan for the Village of Pender.  All data was completed and reviewed in June.  These studies will provide a roadmap for the future of our Community. A NIFA grant was utilized for partial payment for the Housing Study – grant data was finalized and reimbursement should be submitted to the Village in the coming weeks. 

  • Updated:  The Pender business map has been completely redone with area businesses listed with a legend on the back page.  This will be provided to businesses / organizations / travelers / etc. to promote our local businesses.  The creation/updating of this data was paid for by a grant from Thrivent.

Diann spent a large amount of time in February preparing for and completing Business Retention and Expansion surveys.  We had two representatives from DED and Mandy Hansen from NMPP come to town to assist.  We did 21 business visits with ten of the companies being new to this process.  We also did a tour of Palace Lofts and Uptown Pix.  Final reports will be reviewed to determine areas that need attention in our community.     

Diann continues to work with the Thurston County Tourism Committee on grant applications; grant reimbursements; and existing grants. If your organization is planning an event in Thurston County and you would like grant assistance for the promotion of the event or to enhance a local tourism destination – contact Diann to receive a grant application.


Quarter 2 – New:

The Downtown Revitalization Grant Phase one is complete. I compiled the grant guidelines with the projects we hope to complete in Phase two and had forwarded them to NENED and to the DTR Committee in April for review.  Our Committee met in May and we worked through the process of what we want to include in the application; we tweaked the guidelines; and discussed needed data for the application.  I visited with all active Main Street businesses throughout June.  We have many businesses that would like to utilize the DTR Façade improvement grant dollars if awarded.  I will be creating a budget for the grant in July and working with Mandy at NENED to prepare the application.  I am on the Village Council agenda for July to discuss matching funds needed for the beautification piece of the grant.  The removal of the bump outs on Main Street was part of this grant process.

Diann is working with Judy Joy of NENED and Bill Newton on conversion of the Rehab dollars to Down Payment Assistance.  We have come to an agreement of what the guidelines should offer.  Judy has submitted these to DED for approval.  If these are approved without exception these will be sent to the Village of Pender for approval. Once this occurs the program details will be made available for local residents to apply for and utilize the money for residential down payment assistance in our Community.

Diann continues to work on the process of getting our Community Re-Certified as a Leadership Certified Community.  This is an accomplishment for Pender that allows for additional grant points once your community has this designation.


Quarter 3 – New:

The Downtown Revitalization Grant Phase two was submitted on September 6, 2019.  We should have results in January.  I worked with the Village for Code enforcement data and Bill regarding CRA data. I submitted all the pictures and data requested for several years of activities.  We received/included 17 letters of support; the banking letters for potential lenders; the CRA required documentation; the Village summaries; links and documents to all of the current comp plan / housing plan and zoning regulations.  Everything was compiled and submitted, this was a significant part of my quarterly time spent; however if awarded its $400,000 in grant funds. 

I presented the DTR data to the Village Council in July.  They are on board with matching the $100,000 sector of the DTR beautification project.  Matching dollars would be $25,000.    

The TCLEC Arboretum grant will be completed this year.  We had a site visit in July.  Rachel was very impressed with our pollinator garden.  She took pictures that were placed on their website – I shared on Facebook.  Replaced plants have been planted; we are adding Phase two which will include some trees being planted on the East side of the land. I have compiled all financial data to be sure that we are under the grant expenditures limit and have discussed matching labor logs continue to be completed by volunteers.  Phase two was completed in early August and we have so much money left, another phase was added to do shrubs and trees.  These should be coming in early September, Shelly Perez is organizing the planting so I believe it will be done by inmates. I am compiling bills so that the final reimbursement can be made and the grant closed.


Quarter 4 - New:

Diann continues to work with the Thurston County Tourism Committee on grant applications; grant reimbursements; and existing grants. We have dollars left for Tourism Improvements – if there are areas in the County that need to be improved to promote tourism, please contact Diann for an application.  In November we added Candice Gardea to the Tourism Committee as a replacement for Ellen Kitzmann from Blue Ox.

The Down Town Revitalization grant was awarded for $445,000!  Jason did a great story about the award in the Pender Times. Mandy with NENED is working on the environmental review.  Bill and Holly have signed the contract and returned all data to NENED to move forward with the grant acceptance.  

I assisted Sandra Renner from Center for Rural Affairs in hosting the Building Better Communitiesthrough Food & Art Conference hosted in Pender October 10th.  I did a tour of eligible business space on Main Street including four sites:

·      Pender Grain 4th & Main – Empty Building

·      JoAnne VonSeggern – Front space

·      Maryott McHirron – West side 

·      Lorensen Lumber – Building south of 5th Quarter. 

I had five ladies interested in seeing the buildings, unfortunately none were local – but there is always much interest in our Community and how we have accomplished as much as we have through the past few years.  The Conference hosted nearly 50 attendees and many speakers from around Nebraska and beyond. 

I continue to work with the Senior Center on ideas for handicap accessibility for the center to utilize some of the funds we have sitting in the previous REHAB fund.  Again, these funds need to be allocated before June 2020 or they are defunded and sent back to the State to be reallocated from the general fund budget. We received a quote in late December which has been forwarded to NENED.  I am waiting to hear from Mandy on what the next step would be towards the reallocation.  


The Down Town Revitalization grant is proceeding. The DTR Committee along with Mandi from NENED met with the three planning firm finalist for a presentation about their proposals.  The scoring was completed and was submitted to the Village Council for their approval.  JEO was approved as the planning firm and were notified in February.  The kick off meeting was held in May with 8 people present.  As requested, the Densil Christiansen benches will remain on Main Street.  

**UPDATE** We had a meeting with JEO at the end of July. This meeting focused on the beautification sector of the planning options.  It was decided that we should host a meeting for all business owners / land owners in the planning area to show them the planning ideas.  I worked extensively to reach out to all land owners in the DTR area.  The meeting was held in late August with more than 20 business owners in attendance. This was a great meeting with good input from the Community.  The Town Hall meeting held for the entire community on September 4, 2018 had a pretty good turn out with 25 members of the community attending.  The comment board received some strong feelings toward the removal of the Bump Outs.  Other items that were seen as a needed project were the façade improvements; Main Street lighting; new sidewalks; and street beautification.  After our Town Hall Meeting several members of the committee went to Wayne to review what they had done with sidewalks / lighting / etc. in their Main Street area.  Research was also completed on sidewalk renovations / curb & gutter / NDOR data / handicap accessibility etc. 

The DTR Committee met in late September and made a prioritized list that was sent to JEO for a draft proposal to be compiled. These were sent in early October but have not yet been received in Pender.  Once we have those and they are reviewed JEO will be on hand for a question/concern session to move forward with the plan.  

I (Diann) was asked to write a grant for the Thurston Ball Field.  The field is used for over flow of practice for the youth of Pender / Thurston, and also for adult softball league.  However, there is no outfield fencing and the sideline fencing is dilapidated.  Travis Dunn and Zach Johnson assisted with quotes and needed materials; I secured a local company to provide the QuikRetefor the poles to be set and we have multiple local volunteers to install the fence.  A grant for the materials only was submitted to the Main Street Thriftique. A donation of $250 was received and will be used to help pay for the fencing. 

The CDBG grant for Thurston is going quite well. The Planning & Zoning Commission were appointed and have had two meetings since April.  They reviewed and approved the Comp Plan and Housing study, these were approved by ordinance at the June Village Board meeting.  The Subdivision regulations have been reviewed and updated, the zoning regulations are underway with the Village Attorney making recommendations.  

**UPDATE**The Thurston Planning & Zoning Committee has approved the Zoning Regulations, the Subdivision Regulations, the Fee Schedule, and the Zoning Map.  We have almost everything reviewed through the Village Council. We have completed much of this project with the annexation plats being next on the agenda. 

Ray Welsh, Jason Dolliver, and Diann all participated with the Behavioral / Mental Health Focus group as Pender representatives.  We had our first meeting in mid-January.  This went really well and was well attended.  We had a conference call in early February to discuss how each representative can add to this group.  We would like to see more focus put on this occupation at the secondary level; more scholarships; potential to work with the Foundation; housing assistance for professionals that locate here, etc. Also as part of this outreach, Pender will be hosting a First Aid for Mental Health class.  The Chamber has agreed to host the event with sponsoring the room at the Community Center. Frontier Bank will be providing lunch. The class will be held on July 25thhere in Pender from 8am until 5pm.  Registration forms and flyers have been sent to businesses.  

**UPDATE** The First Aid for Mental Health Classwas held on July 25. We had 9 participants attend the full day training.  The training was very informative and will hopefully assist all of the businesses that sent employees to be trained.   


A contract has been signed with Hanna:Keelan to complete a new Housing Study and Comp Plan for the Village of Pender.  Work will begin in July. 

New additions: 

The Thurston County Law Enforcement Center landscaping project is moving along.  We met with Rachel from the Nebraska Statewide Arboretum in late July.  She did a site inspection and approved our project for completion at the end of 2019.  Since we have only spent about half of the allotment I will be asking for reimbursement for the first piece this year and then the final piece when the project is complete.  Leonard hopes to get the seeding done this fall.  Several trees and plants are being replaced due to the flood.  Additional trees will be added because we have funds to spend.  


Diann worked with Michael Francis and Terry Mailloux on a Red Cross safety program.  This program would allow all residents in the Pender / Thurston area to receive free smoke detectors.  The Pender Volunteer Fire Department will be installing these to ensure they are properly installed with batteries and fully functional. Terry should have received the shipment already; press releases were sent to the Pender Times and also placed on Face Book.  Connie Miller will be compiling the list of interested residents and will be in communication with the Fire Department for placement. 


The annual strategic Planning Meeting was held at the Pender Community Fire Hall meeting room on February 21, 2017.  There were 15 community members in attendance, with the meeting being facilitated by Mandy Hansen from NMPP.  The majority of the time we discussed housing concerns and issues with housing in the community.  Mandy has updated the notes from this meeting and data was distributed to the Board and all members present. 

**UPDATE**The Lower Elkhorn NRD grant for toddler equipment for the City Park was submitted prior to the deadline in early March.  The equipment they are hoping to have placed will cost over $40,000.  The grant could assist with a $10,000 maximum award.  This grant was awarded for $10,000.

The Thurston County Law Enforcement Center landscaping grant is under way.  Building construction is moving along as planned with opening date scheduled for August 2017.  The Green Team met on March 13th to review the drawings and plans for the landscaping area.  Planting plans are moving forward.  This grant will include many hours of local sweat equity. We should be ready to start moving dirt and composting in mid-late August.  Volunteers should contact Diann Ballard if interested in assisting. 

**UPDATE**The PCD, Inc. Board and the Village Council Board both voted to move forward with the revised application for Down Town Revitalization.  The application had to be completely updated from the prior year submission.  We revised the commerce area, reviewed all empty buildings, compiled updated data on Palace Lofts, Thurston County Law Enforcement Center, Logan Valley Cottages, Towne Centre Apartments, Cross Roads Lodge, Rosey’s Mexican Restaurant, the old Daum Building, etc.  This grant was submitted the end of March. The planning grant of $30,000 was awarded.  

**UPDATE**A new grant will be submitted to the Gardner Foundation for assistance with the Pender Community Center.  This grant is requesting $100,000 to be used in any number of areas that may spark the interest of the Foundation.  This grant will be submitted in early April.  This grant was submitted and denied.


The Thurston County Tourism Committee has been busy.  We have over $6,000 in funds to be distributed.  I have forwarded grant applications; recruited replacement members; work with the County Board to appoint this replacement; promoted the grants; and worked with Committee members.  We are hopeful to get more applications coming in to utilize these funds.  

Research assistance was provided to the Thurston County Board to determine what is available for grant assistance for equipment for the new Law Enforcement Center.Throughout the month of July, Diann worked extensively on compiling the Business Retention and Expansion survey data and scheduling appointments.  Deb Eggelston and Kelly Gewecke from DED and Mandi Hansen from NMPP were all in town on July 31 and August 1 to assist with the 22 scheduled visits.  All data that was collected will be compiled by DED and a report will be sent to me when available.  I will share this data with the Board and area businesses.

The first “Shop Local” Event occurred on September 7th.  We had nine local businesses participate.  Three businesses hosted home based businesses and all businesses were open from 5:00pm – 8:00pm.  I visited most of the businesses during the event and they all had a steady stream of customers.  I spoke with each of the businesses afterwards, and all but the Thriftique will be participating in the October event on the 5th. We will do this again in November the evening of the pancake supper hosted by the Chamber.

The Summer Rec group is researching the idea to get a new ball field.  They contacted me regarding writing grants.  I did some research for them on the Nebraska Game & Parks grant.  This is a nice grant but a large project, it required Environmental studies, architectural drawings, and a developer – none of which they had in place and the grant was due the first week in October.  They may still work on this for a future grant – they are on an annual award cycle.  The second grant was from the College World Series.  I completed and submitted this grant for them for fencing in the dugout areas and a new back stop at Heyne Field.  The grant request was for $10,000 and awards will be announced in January.

Diann continues to work with Mandi Hansen from NMPP.  Their most recent program has been LED lighting for businesses.  However, some power companies sometimes will do a programmable thermostat program, to assist with energy consumption during peak hours and also to reduce consumer’s energy bill.  I checked into this with the Mandi and this is not a program that they have done in the past.  She will check to see if this can be something that is done in the future.  


Early in the year, Pender Economic Development (PED) coordinator Diann Ballard collaborated with Northeast Nebraska Economic Development for the Village of Thurston to see if they could apply for a Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) to assist in the village’s annexation process. The costs of this project were expected to be in the arena of $20,000, and the assistance of CDBG funds would pay for more than half of those expenses.

The new townhomes, Logan Valley Cottages (LVC), were completed and possession was finalized with ownership passing to Pender Community Development (PCD) in late January. Nikki Ferraro of rural Pender was hired as the property manager for LVC, as well as the Towne Centre Apartments, effective Feb. 1. She currently works with existing and potential tenants and all related governmental entities.

PCD agreed to accept and possess ownership of the Pender Community Center project at its February meeting. Soon after, the bid letting was released for this project.

In mid-spring, work continued on a Downtown Revitalization Grant, which was submitted to the Nebraska Department of Economic Development on May 26. This is a planning grant that will assist the Pender community in identifying needs in the village’s general commerce area (Main Street). These needs then become the focus of a follow-up grant.

Pender Community Development has updated its Pender brochures that are available for local events and visitors to the Pender-Thurston area. The brochures highlight area businesses, attractions and the community. Those who would like to utilize these brochures to assist with promoting a local event may contact Ballard at 402-922-1652 or

Ballard worked with Susan Strahm and Pender Times publisher Jason Sturek to have the Pender-Thurston website feature publications/promotions for the Barn Quilt Tour. A video slideshow was created with a majority of the barn quilts being showcased. To view the video, go online to

Ballard also assisted with the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension Entrepreneur Camp held in Pender in late June. The camp allowed youngsters to develop an entrepreneurial idea, create a product and then sell the product. After they made their sales, they reviewed their outcomes and determined profits and losses. The camp was hosted by Pender Public Schools with eight participants.

PCD is currently assisting in the writing of a grant for the Thurston County Law Enforcement Center. The funds, if awarded, will be used to complete landscaping for the facility upon building completion. 

Pender Economic Development Coordinator Diann Ballard is working with the Village of Thurston and the Northeast Nebraska Economic Development District to determine if Thurston could be eligible for a Community Development Block Grant. The Village of Thurston would like to annex several areas of its community into the village to increase tax revenues. This process costs nearly $20,000. To begin the process for a CDBG grant, a ‘low to moderate’ income survey has been completed with over 53 percent of the village residents meeting the required guidelines. The grant writing process will start next. If the process is successful, the village hopes to receive 65 percent of the required cost via this grant.

Ballard is also worked with Blue Ox, Blu Jet and Logan Valley Sales on hosting a Manufacturing Day in October. They secured the date, advertising and contacted six area schools to try to recruit students to see what the new manufacturing processes have to offer.

When the lodging tax was passed back in 2013, it provided a manner to generate funds to promote tourism in Thurston County. To date, PED has received over $3,000 from these revenues. The Tourism Committee has met and developed a grant application that was approved by the Thurston County Board and planned to advertise for applicants in October.

Pender Community Development provided a letter of support for the ReVision process. The group is submitting for a federal grant, “Pathways 2 Tomorrow,” for future educational monies for rural schools.

The Thurston County Law Enforcement Center landscaping grant was submitted to the Nebraska Arboretum recently. They have contacted the grant representative, Leonard Peters, and requested a site visit to review the project and area support. Peters is working on getting this set up. This is a great sign that it has a high potential to be funded.

Manufacturing Day was held on Oct. 7. There were three local employers who participated with tours and snacks for the general public. The number of folks who took advantage of this opportunity was significantly less than in prior years, but there were students from an area school (Allen) that were able to take part in the Blue Ox tour.

Advertising for grants utilizing the lodging tax dollars was published in the The Pender Times and The Winnebago News in October. These publications will hopefully drive up interest in promoting tourism within our county. The Tourism Committee meets in January to review any/all applications.

The Thurston County Law Enforcement Center landscaping grant site visit was successful, and we were awarded this grant. We are currently working as part of the Green Team to implement the grant and have a design and layout completed. Leonard Peters is the coordinator of this grant and will be completing the bulk of the work for the county.

Diann continues to work with Jan at NENED on the Thurston annexation process. We received the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) for $30,000 and the Nebraska Investment Finance Authority Grant (NIFA) for $6,750 to offset costs for the comprehensive plan, housing study, surveying costs, zoning and grant administration. 


PCD, Inc.  worked closely with Melissa Kelly at Pender Community Hospital to help bring eye care services to Pender. Dr. Brandon Ridder now works out of the Pender Community Hospital at least one day a week.

The Leadership Certified Community Application was submitted in February for our community. We were selected for this designation and will now be eligible for Down Town Revitalization Grants in the future though the Nebraska Department of Economic Development. This grant work will begin in the fall of 2015 for the 2016 grant application.

Pender Community Development, Inc. has been instrumental in bringing together local investors to build a new 10 bed motel in Pender.  Aschoff Construction were the contractors on this facility which opened its doors on June 26. There is a small amount of landscaping to be completed in the near future, but the motel is open for business.

Pender Community Development has been working with area developers to create a new housing addition on the north side of town for market rate housing. The developers have purchased the land and are working on engineering and infrastructure to enable them to break ground on these homes this summer. The addition will be called “Northview Estates” and will house up to 18 additional homes for our residents.

PCD, Inc. continues to work with the Thurston County Jail Committee to pursue placing the new “Law Enforcement Center and Jail” in Pender.  The special election was successful in passing the bond issuance. PED/PCD Representatives will continue to work on this project which will bring at least five new full time jobs to our community.

PCD, Inc. Coordinator Diann Ballard assisted with the “Connecting the Dots” seminar held at the Pender Public School on April 15. This was a career workshop for freshmen and sophomores to assist in determining what they would like to do after high school. Throughout the morning Diann assisted with career opportunities and after lunch she spoke about all of the opportunities available in the Pender area.

Ground has been broken on both housing complexes on McCabe Street and on Ivan Street. These will be the five town homes built with the assistance of DED Trust Fund Grant monies awarded late last year.  Once completed, there will be a duplex on Ivan Street and a triplex on McCabe Street. These will be 2 bedroom apartments with a single car garage and about 1,300 square foot of living space. 

PCD, Inc. Coordinator Diann Ballard is working with representatives from Pioneer Senior Center to find grants for major improvements needed at the center. 

On June 24, Pender participated the Northeast Nebraska Housing Tour. This tour was sponsored by Stronger Economies Together and hosted by the Wayne, Wakefield, and Pender communities. We began the tour with lunch at the Max in Wayne. We then viewed the new housing development in Wakefield and looked at their infill duplexes. From there, we came to Pender and looked at the DED apartments, Northview Estates site, Countryside Addition and the new motel. We then headed to Wayne and saw the Benscooter Addition on the east side of town, infill housing and also the housing development on the west side of town. There were about 35 people on the tour.

PED assisted with the raft float on August 22, 2015; when approximately 15 area folks joined a representative from Nebraskland Magazine for an early morning rafting trip down the Logan Creek.  The trip began in Pender at the canoe access point on the East side of town and ended at the Bancroft access point just north of Ru-de’s Mini Mart.

ED Coordinator Diann Ballard worked with the Chamber to bring Red Carpet Training to Pender on September 30th.  Red Carpet Training is a Customer Service training targeting retail businesses to improve tourism throughout the community.  We had 24 attendees representing 10 area companies present for the two trainings that were held at the Fire Hall.  These trainings were free to all area businesses compliments of the Pender Thurston Chamber of Commerce.

PED/PCD Representatives and Coordinator continue to work on area housing issues with the completion of Logan Valley Cottages coming in the next few months.

Work is beginning on the Down Town Revitalization planning grant that will be submitted next spring for a study of the Main Street/Down town area.

Businesses are being surveyed regarding training needs in a partnership effort between Pender Community Development and Northeast Community College, to determine the need for Training Grants.

PCD, Inc. representative Diann Ballard worked with Susan Strahm of the Beautification Committee on the Passport Program application. The application would place the Barn Quilt Tour on the Nebraska Tourism Passport Program for 2016. We completed the requested data as well as a one-page insert of things to do in Pender. Additionally, we worked with Jason Sturek to ensure that the Passport data can be added to the website if we are selected as a tourist attraction for the program. Breitbarth One Stop will be the stamping location if we are selected.  

The Towne Centre Apartments project was finalized and Pender Community Development, Inc. is now the owner and manager of this housing complex.

Pender Community Development, Inc. worked with Loess Hills RC&D to host the scrap electronics collection held here in Pender on November 7.

Downtown Revitalization Planning is proceeding. 60 businesses were surveyed regarding the needs and wants for our community. We have 9 volunteers to write letters of support for the grant application. The application is not due until May 2016.


Elizabeth Chase from the Nebraska Main Street Network was here on January 13th to discuss Main Street Revitalization.  There were 22 people in attendance to learn about her program. The associate members of the Nebraska Main Street program are given guidance to plan and organize their community to sustain long-term revitalization activities in their downtown.  Program entry begins annually in June; this is a low cost option for assistance in downtown revitalization.

PCD representatives working in conjunction with NENEDD created and submitted proposals for the new Thurston County Law Enforcement Center to be located in the Village of Pender. Proposals were submitted in February and again in August – and will likely be revisited in 2015.

PCD Coordinator, Diann Ballard worked with Sonya Kelly to secure the Nebraska Department of Economic Development Community Facilities grant in the amount of $375,000, to be used for the new Community Center.

PCD completed a ‘Serve Nebraska’ application nominating The Main Street Thriftique for a Community Service Award.  Unfortunately, due to the short length of time they have been in business they did not receive this award.   

PCD Coordinator, Diann Ballard completed a grant to Lower Elkhorn NRD for the renovations of the bathrooms and handicap accessibility of the City Park.  The grant was awarded for nearly $25,000.

Pender was host to the SET meeting for April. ‘Stronger Communities Together’ is a grant funded project for Northeast Nebraska.  We had 35 people present for the meeting with a tour of Blue Ox after the meeting. 

On April 1st, Diann hosted 10 women from the NMPP Conference to tour local businesses.  These ladies were from all over the state of Nebraska.  They toured the Main Street Thriftique; Main Street Metal; Puckett Florist; and enjoyed a demonstration at Paper-n-Glass by Fuzz Hansen.

“Promoting Pender” was held on June 6th and 7th in conjunction with the area garage sales.  We had 20 businesses signed up to participate that provided data to be distributed to area visitors.  Area volunteers manned the distribution shack and handed out packets to interested parties.

PED, Inc. worked with the Pender Thurston Chamber on a pilot program to improve business signage – they offered a $500 grant for any business that would like to improve their signage.  Pender Vet Clinic was selected for the grant and their new sign is in place.

PCD, Inc. was selected for the Nebraska Department of Economic Development Housing grant in excess of $730,000 to assist in building 5 new apartments in our community.  These apartments will be called “Logan Valley Cottages”.

A small group of volunteers was formed to work with Diann on the Down Town Revitalization project.  We have met with NENEDD and developed our plan going forward to apply for a Leadership Community Designation.  Once a community has completed these items and is awarded this designation, they can then apply for DED grants for Downtown Revitalization. 

The last week of October Lori Shaal and Sheryl Hiatt from the Nebraska Department of Economic Development and Corrinne Pedersen from Nebraska Municipal Power Pool were in town to assist with Business Retention and Expansion Surveys.  We visited 21 companies and completed surveys on what the businesses foresee in their future.  This data is compiled by an intern at the Nebraska DED office and will be made into a condensed report used for economic development. 

PCD, Inc. continues to work with Toni Tauber of Cornerstone Associates and Walter Aschoff of Aschoff Construction on building a new motel. The goal is to have a new motel open by mid-summer 2015.

A Community Attitude Survey was completed as part of the Leadership Certified Community Application.  We had 140 people complete the survey with ideas of improving our community.

We held a Strategic Planning Session for the Community on December 11th at the Fire Hall with nearly 20 people present.  Holly King gave an update on the Chamber; Bill Newton updated the TIF progress; and Melissa Kelly gave an update on the Community Center.  Alyssa from NENEDD summarized the survey and the major areas of concern according to the citizen input.  Corrinne Pedersen was the facilitator.  All of this data is essential to our Leadership Certified Community Application.

We have received notification of Release of Funds from DED on the Logan Valley Cottages; the five new apartments to be built in Pender.  Part of the land needed has been acquired and the bidding process has begun.


PED assisted area businesses in working with NIFA (Nebraska Investment Finance Authority) to secure asset modernization grants for their facilities.  These dollars were used to purchase new/used equipment to improve production.

PED hosted an informational meeting about procuring government contracts.  Speaker Andy Alexander from NBDC (Nebraska Business Development Center) was in town on May 3, 2013 to assist area businesses with their needs. 

PED, Inc. in collaboration with UNL Extension hosted a Makin’ Money Camp on June 11 & 12 at Pender Public School.  We had 17 children present from towns including:  Pender, Thurston, Emerson, Waterbury, Belden, Wayne, and Laurel.  This was a basic entrepreneur camp provided at no cost to the children. 

Steve Peregrine and Elizabeth Fimbres from Nebraska Investment Finance Authority (NIFA) came to town to do a “NIFA First Friday” luncheon on June 20th at the Fire Hall.  There were 24 people attending to listen to various speakers about housing and housing assistance.

While not a direct result of PED's efforts, we are pleased to welcome a new business to our community, Main Street Thriftique, perhaps as a result of PED's overall city growth and improvement mission. 

The Redevelopment Plan of the blighted area in the community of Pender was approved at the public meeting on July 8th.  With this approval, we now have in place a bucket TIF that can capture taxes for the 12 properties that were built in 2012.  These tax dollars can be used for housing developments and housing improvements.

A redesigned “Pender” brochure has been completed.  These are used extensively throughout the community for events; recruitment; new hires; tourism; and public information.  

Pender is taking part in the “Nebraska Broadband Initiative”.  This a program funded through a grant that will review ways that broadband services can be improved throughout the State.  Diann Ballard, PED, Inc. Coordinator has agreed to work with local businesses to promote this program in our area.

The Thurston County Board of Supervisors voted at a public meeting on September 16th to pass a 4% Lodging Tax for the County.  These dollars will be used for tourism promotion in our county.  

National Manufacturers Day was held on October 4th.  Four area manufacturers: Blue Ox; Thurston Manufacturing; Wenke Manufacturing and Logan Valley Sales offered tours for the public.  

“Welcome Packets” have been created for newcomers to the Pender area.  We have compiled data about area groups; activities; services; and connections for people that are new to the area.  These are available at the City Office and at Pender Public School. 


In February, PED hosted Nebraska attorney Michael Bacon to speak on Tax Increment Financing – educating our community leaders on TIF.

PED facilitated the transfer of the former Hospital to Golden-Rod Hills currently known as NENCAP – bringing approximately 50 new jobs into our community in early March.

PED Coordinator, Diann Ballard worked with Tom Perez on the submission of a FEMA grant for a new warning siren to be placed within our city limits – securing the safety of our citizens and saving our Community $15,000 on the equipment.

PED Coordinator, Diann Ballard completed and submitted three training grants for the Pender Volunteer Fire Department.  Educating our volunteers and saving our Community nearly $500 on training expenses.

PED sponsored an informational meeting with the Nebraska Manufacturers Extension Program to bring data about grants available for them to be ISO 9001 Certified – two employers accepted the challenge and utilized the programs saving them collaboratively nearly $10,000.

We worked with to promote housing within our community on their website – this is a free service sponsored by NIFA in Nebraska.  This service assist people in finding places to live or landlords to find eligible tenants.

PED, Inc. in collaboration with Pender State Bank and Charter West National Bank hosted a Makin’ Money Camp on June 13 & 14 at Pender Public School.  We had 22 children present from towns including:  Pender, Thurston, Emerson, Waterbury, Belden, and Randolph.  This was a basic entrepreneur camp provided at no cost to the children.  

We worked with area groups and the Village to find better ways to make our community greener – ultimately bringing the recycling barrels to Pender to encourage recycling of much of our weekly trash.

We set up a Face Book page to communicate via social media.

PED, Inc. worked with the Chamber of Commerce to develop a new Pender/Thurston Businesses brochure for use in the marketing of our area at events and promotions.

PED, Inc. established Pender Community Development, Inc. a non-profit entity to have a primary focus on housing for our Community.  PCD, Inc. was granted their 501c3 status by the IRS in August.

In collaboration with the Chamber we hosted the Career Fair held in October at Pender Public Schools; bringing more than 70 applicants to town to fill local vacancies.

While not a direct result of PED's efforts, we are pleased to welcome a new Cubby's to our community, perhaps as a result of PED's overall city growth and improvement mission.

A Redevelopment Study was completed to utilize TIF in our Community for the promotion of housing and business development.

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Contact Amy Volk

Pender Community

Development Coordinator

PO Box 614 • Pender, NE 68047

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