Posts Calendar

Business Improvement Grant – Round #3

 Cuming County Economic Development announced the start of Round #3 for the Business Improvement Grants on June 3rd.  This round will be open until September 1st.

Thanks to funding by the Donald E. Nielson Foundation, this program has assisted 19 area businesses since January 2018. A total of $20,487.50 has been distributed to help defray $164,828 worth of improvements.

The Business Improvement Grant program is available to qualifying businesses within Cuming County, non-profit and government entities are not eligible.

This is a 50% reimbursement grant with maximum amounts available for the following three categories:

  • Exterior Façade Improvements ($2,500 max.) – Projects include: awning, cornices, entrance/door, exterior paint, decorative detail, exterior lighting, exterior signage, and exterior windows.
  • Interior Façade Improvements ($1,000 max.) – Projects must be visible to the customer including lighting, flooring, furnace, paint, ceiling, shelving and equipment.
  • Marketing ($1,000 max.) – Projects must be customer oriented including new website design, e-commerce website, photography and marketing related seminars.

If you are interested in applying, please contact the Cuming County Economic Development office or download an application at

2018 Business Improvement Grant Recipients

The Parts Junction (exterior) – Beemer
Chiropractic Lifestyle, LLC (exterior) – Wisner
Best Point Design (exterior) – West Point
White’s Home Comfort, LLC (interior) – West Point
Buse Machine (interior) – West Point
Dairy Queen (Six Avery’s, LLC) (exterior) – West Point
Journey Investment Properties, Inc. (exterior) – West Point
Final Drive Show Supply (exterior) – Wisner
Skywave Wireless, Inc. (exterior) – West Point
Meiergerd Game Birds (exterior) – West Point
Picture Perfect Memories (exterior) – West Point
Stove Chiropractic (exterior) – West Point
West Point Design (marketing) – West Point
Native 32 Winery (exterior) – West Point
529 Social (interior) – Wisner
Mendlik Audiology (exterior) – West Point

Cuming County Economic Development Office
Email: or
Phone: (402) 372-6001

Business Improvement Grant

Announcing Business Improvement Grant (B.I.G.) Funding

 Cuming County- The Donald E. Nielsen Foundation has awarded Cuming County Economic Development, Inc. $80,000 for the Business Improvement Grant program.

Guidelines for applying have been revised and there will be quarterly funding available this year, allowing CCED, Inc. to assist more businesses within Cuming County.

This program, thanks to the continued support of the Donald E. Nielsen Foundation, has been able to assist 125 local businesses within our communities since its inception in 2011.

The first round of funding will begin January 12, 2018 and end on March 2, 2018 with consecutive rounds ending the first Friday of June, September and December.

Eligibility: The business must be within Cuming County to be eligible for a business improvement grant. The building must be used solely for business, for example; not an area of a home used for business. Prior grant recipients are eligible based on funding availability. Building owners, non-profit and/or government entities are not eligible.

For additional information or to download an application, please visit our website at

Contact: Kelly Gentrup, CCED Executive Director
Cuming County Economic Development
Email: or Phone: (402) 372-6001

Seeking Community Entrepreneur of the Year Nominations

Cuming County Economic Development is seeking nominations for ENTREPRENEUR OF THE YEAR from each of the communities within Cuming County. Winners will be announced during the CCED Annual Dinner set for Sunday April 29, 2018.

This award will be given to the business that has made an impact within the county through:

  1. Recent economic growth
  2. Community involvement
  3. Exemplary customer service

To nominate a business, please provide the information listed below and submit to Cuming County Economic Development, PO Box 17, West Point, NE 68788 or email to

In order for the nomination application to be considered the following information must be provided:

  1. Business Profile – Briefly describe why you are nominating this business for consideration for Community Entrepreneur of the Year
  2. Business Description – Please provide information regarding the business’ primary product or service. Please do not submit product samples, brochures or other marketing materials
  3. Business Citizenship – Describe how the business is involved with civic affairs and community development

If you have any questions regarding the nomination criteria, contact our office at (402) 372-6001 or email Kelly at


Click here to fill out the nomination form.

Seeking Manufacturer of the Year Nominations

Cuming County Economic Development is seeking nominations for a new award CUMING COUNTY MANUFACTURER OF THE YEAR. The winner of the award will be announced at the CCED Annual Dinner set for Sunday, April 29, 2018.

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This award will be given to the manufacturer that has made an impact within the county through:

  1. Economic growth and stability
  2. Community involvement
  3. Exemplary customer service

To nominate a manufacturer, please provide the information listed below and submit to Cuming County Economic Development, PO Box 17, West Point, NE 68788 or email to

In order for the nomination application to be considered the following information must be provided:

  1. Manufacturer Profile – Briefly describe why you are nominating this company for consideration for
    Manufacturer of the Year
  2. Innovation in technology and/or manufacturing process – Include any environmental solutions/innovations, R & D leadership and/or application of high technology
  3. Manufacturer Citizenship – Describe how the company is involved with civic affairs and community

If you have any questions regarding the nomination criteria, contact our office at (402) 372-6001 or email Kelly at


Click here for nomination form.

CCED Introduces New Approach to Annual Dinner

Why is Cuming County a great place to live, work, and raise a family? That is a question we, at the Cuming County Economic Development, strive to assist individuals answer every day. The CCED Annual Dinner is a great event for us to showcase who we are as a county and why together we can succeed and grow our communities. Each year moving forward, the CCED Annual Dinner will showcase and highlight a certain industry. We are kicking off our new approach to the annual dinner with the industry …. Manufacturing! Manufacturing Silent Auction Items, Bright Light Presentations centered around product ideas, Manufacturing and Entrepreneur Awards and hearing from the CCED Executive Director, Kelly Gentrup are just a few of the highlights that will take place during the night. It will be a night of appreciation, and we hope you will share your evening celebrating manufacturing with us!

Join Us –
When: Sunday April 29, 2018
Time: 5:30 social, 6:30 dinner
Where: Nielsen Community Center, 200 Anna Stalp Ave, West Point, NE
What: Food, Drinks, Awards, Student Presentations, Silent Auction, CCED Update and More

Click here to RSVP

To nominate a business for Cuming County Manufacturer of the Year, click here. To nominate a business for Community Entrepreneur of the Year, click here.

Need Your Feedback – Participate Today!

Individuals from Hollman Media, LLC​ and the University of Nebraska at Kearney are conducting research to gain insight on how communities are doing based on resident and visitor feedback. They have put together a survey for each community in the county and need about 100 responses to get good qualitative data for Bancroft, Beemer, & Wisner and over 250 responses for West Point.

Bancroft Link –
Beemer Link –
West Point Link –
Wisner Link –

If you have 5-10 minutes to complete the survey, it would be much appreciated.

Cuming County Economic Development is taking applications for Commercial & Residential Demolition Grants

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Commercial & Residential Demolition Grants Still Available


Cuming County- Cuming County Economic Development (CCED) is still taking applications for both Residential & Commercial demolition grants.

The Donald E. Nielsen Foundation awarded the CCED a grant for the amount of $75,000 to assist in the demolition of residential structures in Cuming County and an additional $130,000 was received for commercial demolition.

Each municipality located in Cuming County is eligible for a matching fund grant of up to $15,000 for commercial and a maximum of $5,000 for residential demolition projects. The matching fund grant will help defray 50% of the total cost of the demolition project.

Additional funding can be applied for if proof of redevelopment is submitted in regards to the Commercial Demolition grant.

As of July 1, 2017 any remaining funds will be distributed on a first come – first serve basis until all monies have been dispersed.

Applications and guidelines can be found below:

Application for Commercial Demo Funds Form

Application for Housing Demo Funds Form

For additional information please contact:
Kelly Gentrup, CCED Executive Director
Email: or phone: (402) 372-6001

Is Housing a Problem in Cuming County?

The Cuming County Economic Development (CCED) Board meets monthly. The purpose of the Board is to provide oversight for the County Economic Development Program. Board members were appointed by the public bodies that operate in a collaborative effort under an interlocal agreement to providing economic development services in Cuming County. Under the direction of the Economic Development Board, the Executive Director has created the Business Improvement Grant (BIG Program), and residential and commercial demolition programs, using funds from the Nielsen Foundation. Along with the grant programs, the Economic Development Director, in partnership with the CCED Board, has participated in many economic development activities including business and people recruitment, marketing the county as a whole, business retention, and community development. The program has received generous donations from the Dinklage Foundation for marketing, website development and other various office expenses.

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Yes, Cuming County and most of rural America has a housing problem. Studies have shown that rural housing is older, can have major structural issues, such as plumbing, wiring, heating and cooling, and do not meet the needs of today’s families. That is why housing has become a major focus of CCED. One facet of economic development is creating quality affordable housing. In 2011 a housing study was completed for the City of West Point and in 2013, Cuming County funded a housing study for the communities of Beemer, Bancroft, Wisner and rural Cuming County, which was part of the County Comprehensive Plan. Both studies identified a substantial need for new housing. 96 additional housing units are targeted for West Point, consisting of 60 owner and 36 renter units. An estimated 34 owner and 18 renter units should be targeted for elderly households, 55+ years of age, with 22 owner housing units and 14 renter units targeted for non-elderly families. An estimated four owner and four renter housing units in West Point should be built for persons with special needs. An estimated 36 owner units and 22 renter units will be needed for low to moderate income workforce households. These projections will fill the need until 2021 for West Point.

Cuming County’s study, which included rural Cuming County, Wisner, Beemer and Bancroft, identified similar needs for housing. 48 owner occupied units for various income levels and 50 renter occupied units are estimated to fill the need for housing in this area until 2023. “New development in the subject area will be approximately 50% owner-occupied and 50% renter-occupied, a significantly higher percentage of rentals than today’s mix, but necessary to address previous shortfalls in rental construction.”

The County study indicated that the county’s greatest need falls within the $75,000 to $149,000 range. West Point City’s study identifies the top needs for housing in West Point are housing for low to middle income families, housing for single parent families, general rental housing,

housing choices for first-time homebuyers, owner and rental retirement housing. The County study indicated that based on the population and income of the Beemer, Bancroft, Wisner and rural residents, the housing needs fall 358 units short. “Overall, many of the areas moderate to higher income households are living in lower cost units and thus squeezing that market for lower income households.”

Both studies identify Cuming County’s population as aging which has driven the decline of the household population at a faster rate than that of the State. “Many Baby Boomers are moving into the “empty nest” years, while many of their children have not started families of their own. It is important to note that, even with a stable population, a declining number of people per household will create demand for additional housing.”

CCED Board members continue to explore opportunities to increase the county’s population especially in the age group of 20-39. Increasing the population of citizens in the County would increase the tax base and create an environment that can grow a stronger, more diversified and resilient economy. Equally important is growing an economy that enables all residents to achieve a better life. During the years for 1960 to 2010 Cuming County experienced a significant loss of population in the prime “child rearing” years, 25-39. “Not only were these residents not replaced, many residents moving into these age groups left the county. This segment of the population is the engine of local population growth.”

According to the Baseline Community Profile Study done by UNL Extension for West Point and Cuming County, between the years of 2000-2015, Cuming County has experienced the largest population boost from the millennial age group which would be persons born between the years of 1982 to 2004. Unfortunately, the county’s housing stock leaves a demand for housing for this age group, which also serves as a large part of the county’s blue collar workforce. The studies also indicate a substantial need for elderly housing, both rental and owner occupied, for all elderly income sectors.

As a result of discussion amongst CCED Board members, a housing task force committee was formed to improve housing opportunities in the County. Elected Officials, Bankers, Real Estate Professionals, Insurance Agents and Citizens involved in Economic Development makeup the task force which have met three times to discuss housing. The task force recognizes the successes of the individual communities and hopes to work with them to enhance what is currently being done. A down payment assistance program, credit-to-own program, housing rehabilitation, housing demolition, code enforcement; were on the top of the list of activities identified in the studies. With the help of the Economic Development Director, the task force recently received education on federal grant programs through the Nebraska Investment Finance Authority (NIFA). NIFA’s programs use federal tax credits to subsidize the needed programs as identified in the studies. Communities in the area, such as Wayne, Tekamah, and

Norfolk, have been working with NIFA for years to build up their communities housing stock to provide diverse options for their citizens.

Traditionally, our communities have relied on the move-up housing approach in which new higher end homes are built which leaves houses for sale. Although this approach is effective, it has not kept up with the demand for quality, affordable housing. 32 single family housing units were built between the years of 2011 and 2016 within the four communities. 27 homes were built within the city limits of West Point, five homes were built in Wisner and two homes in Bancroft. West Point’s private sector have stepped up and surpassed the need identified in the West Point housing study to build 22 owner occupied higher income housing units. They are also providing options for the moderate to higher income families outside the county looking to move into Cuming County. Two duplexes for owners have been built during the same time frame and one four-plex rental unit is under construction in West Point. More information would be needed on the West Point old elementary school project to see how this housing complex will help fill the gaps. These projects help fill the need for the county’s population in the moderate to high income levels, but affordable housing is lacking for lower income citizens.

This leaves a question “WHAT IS AFFORDABLE HOUSING”? In the simplest of terms, affordability of housing refers to the amount of capital one has available in relation to the price of the goods to be obtained. The generally accepted definition of “affordable” is no more than 30% of a household’s income goes to housing costs. Cuming County has a 2015 median household income of $50,013 (Census Bureau); 30% of the median household income equals $15,004, or $1,250 per month for housing (rent or mortgage). The UNL Extension study states the gross rent of 45% of the rentals in Cuming County exceeds 30% of the household income. This might draw the conclusion that there is a demand for “affordable” rental and owner-occupied units in the county. To serve the citizens of our county, and to experience positive growth, the County needs to provide housing options for all income levels.

Another interesting statistic from the UNL study is 9% of the total population in Cuming County is classified as in deep poverty which is 2.1% higher than the national average. Could the housing market in Cuming County be contributing to this statistic?

This leaves one more question. How does a community fill the need for affordable housing? The problem in creating affordable housing is there is no profit for the private sector to invest in building housing units for the low to moderate income citizens. Therefore the task is left to non-profits and government subsidies.

Cuming County continues to be a progressive County and a leader in the State. Currently it has quality public facilities and new projects on the horizons. Quality affordable housing will continue to be a need for all the communities within Cuming County. It will be important for all

groups within the county, private and public, to work together to fill the housing needs of the county now and into the future. If you feel strongly that the CCED Board members need to work with organizations such as NIFA, please share those comments with the Economic Development Department. You may call 402-372-6001 or email Kelly Gentrup at or speak with members of the CCED Board. All thoughts, comments and criticism are welcomed. If you would like to review both housing studies please visit the City of West Point website and the Cuming County website. For the UNL Baseline community profile for West Point and Cuming County, visit the Business section of the Cuming County Website (

Cuming County Economic Development Board

Jon Bailey
Doug Steffensmeier
Tom Goulette
Al Vacanti
Jon Cerny
Holly Schroder
Bonnie Vogltance
Rose Jaspersen
Chet McWhorter

Future of CCED

On behalf of the Cuming County Economic Development, we would appreciate it if you would take a couple minutes to participate in the following survey. You will be providing valuable information that will help continue to grow Cuming County. It is your input that can be a catalyst in the future of your economic development.

Answers provided on this survey will only be used by the Cuming County Economic Development; be assured all answers provided will be confidential.

Click here to take the survey.

Now Taking Nominations for CCED Annual Dinner Awards

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Join us for the 6th Cuming County Economic Development Annual Dinner, Sunday April 30, 2017. Social hour starts at 5:30 PM and Dinner begins at 6:30 PM. Join us as we review the past year, recognize business of the year, community of the year, ag producers and listen to youth presentations on entrepreneurship. Also, find out why they might want to return home after college or trade school.

Nominations are now being accepted for Annual Dinner Awards (Business of the Year and Ag Production).

  • Business of the Year (Small)
  • Business of the Year (Medium)
  • Business of the Year (Large)
  • Production Agriculture (Small)
  • Production Agriculture (Large)


Please fill out the attached nomination form for either award category. Nominations are due Monday, March 13, 2017.

Click here to register or call the CCED office to reserve your ticket, (402) 372-6001.

Attachment Size
File Ag Nomination Form.docx 570.45 KB
File Business of the Year.docx 570.11 KB

Cuming County

West PointBeemerWisnerBancroft