State help is available to promote growth
When Gov. Dave Heineman visited the Trenton Agri Products ethanol plant earlier this month, both he and State Sen. Tom Baker had high praise for Tara Hosick, this region's development consultant for the Nebraska Department of Economic Development.
In his remarks, the governor referred to the multi-million ethanol facility as "Tara's Plant" in recognition of the many tasks she performed on behalf of the Trenton community and the plant developers, Berexco and ICM.
Tara has also been complimented for her work on a number of other projects in western Nebraska, including the "Mama Salsa" enterprise in Orleans and the Hometown Competitiveness projects in Imperial, Grant and Mullen.
While it's nice to hear the kind words, Tara downplays her role in economic development projects. "I help by gathering information and pointing communities in the direction of the programs that are available," she said. "But if the volunteers within the communities who do the work. They're the ones who have to set goals and work together to accomplish them."
In Tara's opinion, all communities -- no matter how large or small -- can improve their economies with a systematic approach to problem-solving. The process starts with people getting together to explore ideas for progress. The first and foremost necessity is commitment on the part of the community workers. They must set goals together and not quit until they are accomplished.
Through Tara, the Nebraska Department of Economic Development can help a lot. As the development consultant for southwestern and west-central Nebraska, Tara serves 116 communities in 24 counties. "The good thing," she says, "is that there are now economic development programs that fit every community of any size."
It's time to get to work. The best way to start is by getting together with other local people who are concerned about your community's future.
She won't solve your community's problems for you, but she can help by pointing you in the direction of the state programs available for economic development. "We have so many unique communities, all with something special to offer," she said. "It's up to all of us, working together, to realize our full potential."