Research & Background

how we got here

The PowerUP vision was developed to directly reflect community input, research, and strategic opportunity identification. 

This process identified similar needs across the six communities, creating a realistic, regional plan. The results informed the development and design of a strategy that will support the kinds of investments that generate widespread social and economic benefits. 

This process included:

Background research for each community

Site visits to each community

Regional and community-based focus groups

Interviews with selected community members, state representatives, and other stakeholders including business owners, educators, community leaders, and state development officials

An online survey completed by 220 community members

A literature review that identified 14 articles, reports and other sources of documentation related to regional collaboration

Background review of existing plans, studies, and projects across the six-community footprint and the state of Nebraska

key findings


Challenges/What's Missing

Downtowns and local parks - full of opportunity

School system

Area events


Proximity to larger communities

Great local businesses

Small town culture

Strong housing market

Strong Ag industry presence

Existing businesses are valued

Need more housing (types + price points)

Significant blight

Vacant storefronts

Lack of support for business development

Lack of workforce

Downtowns need sprucing up

Need more places to eat and drink

Need access to affordable capital 

the opportunity

Working together toward a unified vision, sharing resources, costs, and ideas can position this six-community district as a regional leader for innovative growth in Nebraska.  

Establish and brand this six-community region as Nebraska’s PowerUP District 

A statewide resource center for skills-based education and small business development.  This investment in human capital will expand the knowledge and skills base of current and future residents, directly and indirectly improving the economic growth of the area and, ultimately, the state.  

The PowerUP District will be recognized for: 

  • Powering the economy with people
  • Reimagining and connecting places
  • Growing Nebraska’s most promising industry sectors

Blueprint Nebraska

In Spring 2019, Blueprint Nebraska shared a vision for statewide growth and prosperity. As it turns out, the vision for the PowerUP District, as suggested, is uniquely positioned to PlugIN to the state’s vision for economic growth and prosperity.

Check out these long-term goals for the state of Nebraska:

Diversify and improve the productivity of Nebraska’s agri-business cluster.

Build a pipeline of founders in tech sectors creating the Midwest’s leading tech cluster of R&D and innovation.

Rejuvenate our communities through targeted investments.

Build livable housing units, making Nebraska the national housing model for housing affordability and sustainability.