McCook, state in good position to attract millennials

Friday, April 13, 2018

We wish McCook Economic Development Corp. director Andrew Ambriz all the best as he moves on to a similar position in Broken Bow.

He and his wife recently welcomed a new baby, and we completely understand a desire to share a growing family with grandparents and other family members.

Ambriz’s loss is a blow to the MEDC not only because of his attitude and abilities but as a millennial, he is in a good position to play to one of Nebraska’s strong suits.

In concert with the McCook Chamber of Commerce’s stated mission of making McCook a great place to live, work and play, the MEDC has been making strides to appeal to the important millennial demographic, which is generally defined as those born between 1981 and 1996.

Compared to many states, Nebraska has affordable housing, which is reflected in a study (http://bit.ly/2He7A83) by the personal finance website WalletHub.com, which found Nebraska is the No. 6th best state for millennials who are not living with their parents and 10th for housing costs.

Overall, Nebraska ranked as the 8th best state for millennials, ranking 2nd in unemployment, 19th for the number of millennials living here, 20th for insured millennials and 30th for homeownership rate.

McCook EDC President Dennis Berry said the group has “many balls in the air,” including the potential for new retail businesses, a possible truck stop and the availability of space and utilities in the city’s business park in southeast McCook.

Nothing can be accomplished without financial backing, of course, and the announcement that the U.S. Treasury Department had approved the designation of parts of McCook and a rural area to the northeast as an “Opportunity Zone,” can help provide that backing.

Those who invest through certified investment vehicles created as “Opportunity Funds” can benefit from tax incentives such as deferrals on capital gains tax.

McCook has made great strides in recent years in alleviating housing shortages, and is blessed with several major employers as well as a number of businesses started by young entrepreneurs.

City officials are in the process of deciding which civic projects deserve priority status in the coming years, and are welcoming public input.

The Opportunity Zone designation, as well as continued emphasis on the needs of millennials, provide a couple more pieces to the puzzle of sustaining a vibrant, growing community.

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