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Serving the Loup Valley for 140 Years

Economic Development

Is Pollard’s Passion

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Caleb Pollard, Executive Director for Valley County Economic Development, shares that workforce recruitment and housing are two priorities for the organization. 

By Kate Wolf
   Caleb Pollard and his family have made Valley County their home for the past 16 years. Even though he and his wife, Christina, have traveled the world and visited many other cities, he still looks forward to returning home to the community of Ord. It is here, in this beautiful, peaceful valley along the North Loup River where they have created a home, built a successful business at Scratchtown Brewing Co., raised their children, and sent them to some of the best schools in the state of Nebraska, just as so many others are also doing. That’s because Pollard is a true believer in this area, in his community, and in the caring, generous people and business owners who live here. He has been Executive Director of Valley County Economic Development (VCED) since January 2024 and previously from 2008 to 2013. He is truly passionate about the potential and possibilities that Valley County has to offer for future growth and development.
  “You have to stay engaged in your community to make sure it grows and evolves as it should,” Pollard explained. “We have a wonderful community here….great schools, recreational opportunities, thriving businesses, and so much more. A lot of the challenges we face are more acute than they were when I first worked at VCED, such as housing and workforce availability. But Ord has grown since the last census and there are many ways we can put together innovative solutions.”
   In view of the issues that have been identified by VCED, several priorities have come to light: To facilitate expanded development and to maintain Ord’s historic downtown area so it remains a vibrant and vital part of Valley County’s economic base. Second story housing downtown is also a priority allowing business owners a degree of income diversification while providing housing for those who want to live where the action is….where they can walk to the grocery store, to shops, restaurants, and entertainment venues without the hassle of yard work or snow removal. 
   “Recruitment of workforce is essential to the growth of Valley County,” Pollard commented. “And expansion of all forms of housing in Valley County is important.”
   In cooperation with the City of Ord and the In-Fill Housing Redevelopment Fund, contractors and developers can apply for rebates up to $25,000 to improve a single family dwelling or up to $50,000 for contractors and landlords for a multi-family housing facility. The one percent tax previously approved by area voters has already made great strides in creating new possibilities for Ord and has also been used in every single community across Valley County. These rebates may help neighborhoods where older homes are structurally sound and just require a little upgrade, making them available for enhanced workforce housing.
  Pollard’s criteria for success involves availability, affordability, quantity and quality housing for workers at all income levels and various circumstances. Not everyone can afford to buy a $350,000 new home. Not everyone needs to….and it is the scope of VCED’s plan to ensure that Valley County communities can house new workers drawn to our area by the many benefits of living here.
   “We have to do all of the above,” Pollard insists. “I want to see all forms of housing here in Ord and throughout Valley County. We have a lot to be proud of, but because of prior efforts, we can do even more. There are many talented people here in our community….people with great ideas who can help advise and direct the course of the actions we must take to guarantee the future for generations to come.”
   In addition, VCED offers many benefits to entrepreneurs looking to start a new business in Valley County including financial support, a database of analytics designed to assist in critical decision making, as well as free business coaching which would otherwise cost thousands of dollars. There simply is no “downside” to these benefits….VCED is willing and eager to help. Pair that with low-interest financing in Valley County and we have a blueprint for success.
  Pollard uses the analogy of planting trees: “If you plant a tree today, you may not live to see its full growth. But your children and grandchildren will be able to enjoy the shade in the future.” It’s an investment in the community that can and will pay off as Ord and all of Valley County continues to grow.
  To read the complete story, pick up the May 22 edition of The Quiz!

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Due to Quiz office closure (Mon., May 27.), there will be early deadlines for the May 29 edition of The Ord Quiz. Ad copy and news content will be due by 12 p.m. on Fri., May 24. Items received after deadlines will run in the following week’s paper.

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