Mayor Scott Getzschman spoke about progress made in 2018 — and goals set out for the Fremont community in 2019 — during the annual State of the City address at Fremont Golf Club on Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2019.
Getzschman began his lengthy address by providing a look back at some of the awards received by the City in 2018.
“2018 was a very busy and exciting year, and it was a year of recognition,” he told the crowd in attendance at the golf club.
Some of those honors include the City of Fremont being named Community of the Year by the Nebraska Diplomats of the Greater Omaha Region, recognition for economic development by Site Select Magazine, the Golden Spike Award for the city’s 150-year partnership with Union Pacific Railroad, and the Doug Bereuter Most Accomplished Community Award for 2017-18 from the Northeast Nebraska Economic Development District.
“I would like to thank the city council, city staff, city employees and our community partners working together to achieve these awards,” he said.
Getzschman also focused on housing and business growth throughout the community in 2018 — and work done by the city’s planning department and city council to help bring several mixed-use housing developments to the community.
Those developments include Gallery 23 East, SunRidge Place, Morningside Crossing, and Morningside Pointe.
Along with development of housing, he also focused on economic development by way of the establishment of new businesses and the expansion of current local businesses throughout the past year.
“Collaboration between the city and community partners played a big role in economic development,” he said.
In 2018, new businesses came to town including: Legacy Post & Beam, Infinite 8 Institute, ALDI, and the addition of Fremont’s own wood-bat baseball team — the Fremont Moo.
He also spoke about the growth of longtime local businesses like Nebraska Irrigated Seed’s new climate-controlled warehouse on North Broad Street, Fremont Rentals’ move to a new larger location on 23rd Street and Jayhawk Boxes expansion to their facility.
“Jayhawk has just completed phase one, and phase two is under construction on what is an $8 million expansion project to their facility,” he said. “They’ve been here since 1946 so to have them continue to grow is pretty exciting.”
He also looked forward to the completion of the Costco-Lincoln Premium Poultry complex, which is estimated for September 2019, and what that project will bring to the community.
“Costco is set to open in September with a 48-week ramp up to full capacity,” he said. “And we are extremely excited about the ancillary businesses that continue to visit with us and have already come in to our region to locate next to this project.”
He also spoke about the sale of Hormel Foods to Wholestone Farms and the new company’s plan to invest more than $150 million to improve the facility.
“The are already partnering with the City of Fremont by purchasing approximately 2 million gallons of water per day for their production,” he said. “They will also be sharing cost on the new anaerobic lagoons currently being constructed.”
Looking forward to 2019 and beyond, Getzschman said one of the city’s biggest focuses will be addressing stormwater drainage and flooding.
“The most important thing, in my mind, in the next two to three years will be the focus on stormwater drainage,” he said. “We have begun discussions with the NRD (Natural Resources District) and Dodge County to study solutions to prevent flooding during major rain events.”
He also said that challenges facing the city in coming years include managing increased labor and benefits costs, and housing and labor needs overall.
“Housing and labor will be two needs that leadership in this community will have to focus on over the next several years,” he said.
In regard to expanding the local workforce, Getzschman said the community is blessed to have Midland University and Metropolitan Community College.
“For training needs and getting people ready to work, they add a huge benefit to the workforce and we look forward to continue working with and partnering with them,” he said.
He also stressed the importance of continued focus on improving infrastructure and determining the future needs of the Fremont Police Department and Fremont Fire Department as the community continues to grow.
Getzschman went on throughout his speech highlighting other important areas of accomplishment in 2018, including:
The signing of an interlocal agreement between the city and Dodge County and the securing of land within the Fremont Technology Park for a future Joint Law Enforcement Center.
The installation of four new train monitors at Burlington Northern Crossings at Somers Avenue, 23rd Street, Linden Avenue and Military Avenue.
“It doesn’t replace a viaduct, but it is a lot less expensive in regard to the safety factor and providing that valuable information to our public safety agencies,” he said.
There was also the opening of Fremont’s first solar farm and the dedication of a second solar farm on the city’s well fields.
The addition of two electric vehicle charging stations in the parking lot of the Fremont Mall and the Ilgenfritz Parking Lot at Fourth and Park Avenue, as well as the addition of five Kia Nero plug-in hybrid electric vehicles to the city’s fleet.
The Fremont Department of Utilities also is adding capacity to the waste water treatment plant with additional basins, new lagoons and a new digester.
The completion of the Elkhorn Valley Transmission Line which is expected to be finished in April, as well as the city beginning to use power from the Cottonwood One Wind Farm near Blue Hill.