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North Platte hoping for a brighter future

Quality Growth Meeting
Published: Jul. 19, 2021 at 9:01 PM CDT
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NORTH PLATTE, Neb. (KNOP) - Monday morning the North Platte Northwestern Energy Economic Development Fund Committee and the North Platte Quality Growth Fund Citizens Review Committee met to discuss items such as Sustainable Beef LLC and Rail Park Development Funding.

A large portion of both the meetings went to discussing Sustainable Beef LLC as it tries to move into North Platte. CEO of Sustainable Beef LLC, David Briggs was present at the meetings today to ask the committees for,

“Grant assistance for engineering, architectural, planning and professional services for the proposed beef processing plant at North Platte,” according to the meetings agenda.

Briggs was asking for $500,000 from both the Quality Growth Fund and the Northwestern Energy Fund. The estimated cost of the Sustainable Beef LLC project is $9,791,790.

When making his appeal to the committees for the grants, Briggs explained more about Sustainable Beef LLC and why they see North Platte as being an ideal place for their business. Briggs explained the three C’s of Sustainable Beef LLC. The three C’s are; city, cattle and capital. When explaining city, Briggs says that Sustainable Beef coming would be a great way to help grow North Platte’s shrinking population, get more kids in the schools and help to lower taxes.

Briggs then goes on to talk about the cattle and how the plant is planning to process 100,000 cows. Briggs explained Nebraska beef is the best beef, and that Lincoln County is one of the top producers of cattle. Briggs says that for this reason it makes even more sense for the plant to move into the area.

The final C that Briggs spoke on was capital. In order to break ground this fall Briggs explained to the committee that they will need help from the right outside investors.

Sustainable Beef LLC plans to bring 875 jobs to the North Platte community and that is just at the plant alone. Briggs explained to the committee that North Platte will see close to 2,000 jobs being added to the community as a whole. Sustainable Beef also promises to bring a big boom to local economy as it hopes to pump $1 billion into the economy each year according to Briggs.

This was a very controversial topic at the meeting. Some North Platte residents see the economic impact this would have on the city for years to come. Other residents are concerned that this project would deplete the Quality Growth Fund and are also concerned about the potential environmental impact it could have.

North Platte resident Alan Erickson is in support of Sustainable Beef coming to North Platte.

“It’ll help so many components; the housing, the businesses, all the people that are having a hard time and that will promote more economic growth more income and lower taxes,” said Erickson.

On the other side of the argument, North Platte resident Sophia Klein she’s worried about the small business side of things.

“I know that the chamber is on track to or what they’re wanting to do is help 20 to 25 small businesses come to town. And I hope that there’s enough funding to be able to do that. Last year two small businesses received loans at three percent totaling one-hundred and and forty-five thousand, but zero small businesses received grants, so I’m afraid that this is only going to big businesses,” says Klein.

Both of these committees did unanimously vote to recommend to the City Council, who will ultimately make the decision, to grant the funds to Sustainable Beef LLC.

Other things that were discussed at the meetings were the Rail Park Development funding. According to the meeting agenda this request is for “$200,000 commitment for each of the next ten years to be used as local grant match on requesting state grant funding assistance provided by adoption of LB40 (Quality Growth Fund) by Nebraska Legislature.” This item was also passed by the North Platte Quality Growth Fund Committee. This much like the Sustainable Beef project could help bring an even bigger economic boom to North Platte.

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