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ATKINSON — The City of Atkinson recently appointed Amanda Sindelar as the new economic development director during an Atkinson City Council meeting.

Sindelar, a West Holt Public Schools alumna, moved back to Holt County in 2009 and resides in Atkinson.

The Atkinson economic development director serves under the direction of the mayor and city council. The focus is on business recruitment, retention, expansion and creation of jobs while preserving the quality of life in Atkinson and surrounding areas. The director also works with the Atkinson Area Chamber of Commerce.

"I believe that fresh perspectives and trying new techniques help businesses evolve and grow. Like the City of Atkinson, my goal is to focus on the strengths of our community, as well as help grow my hometown for future generations," she said.

Sindelar takes over for Lou Ann Tooker, who will resign in November after 11 years.

During her time in the position, Tooker aided in the development of the Atkinson Residential Improvement program, which helps residents repave sidewalks and demolish old buildings.

She also assisted businesses with startup or expansions through an LB840 program. LB840, a Local Option Municipal Development Plan, is a way for cities and villages to collect and appropriate local tax dollars — including sales or property tax, if approved by local voters — for economic development.

Tooker aided income-eligible applicants with the City of Atkinson's down payment assistance and housing rehabilitation programs. She also helped with the city's recent implication of CodeRed, an emergency notification program.

She worked with city officials, local volunteers and organizations to expand amenities at Mill Race Park, including the handicap accessible showers and Blue Bird Nature Trail.

Over the years, she helped organize Atkinson Quilt Walk, Bargain Byways, citywide garage sales and other Atkinson Chamber of Commerce events.

"Thanks to the community for making me feel at home from day one," she said.

Tooker and her husband, Allen, will continue to live north of town on their ranch.

"I look forward to working outside, whether it's with the livestock or just doing yard work," Tooker said. "My husband, Allen, will continue to do what he does now, and I'll try to help by not breaking too many things for him to fix."

Previous to joining the City of Atkinson, Sindelar served as the editor of the Holt County Independent since 2013, editor of the Coolidge Examiner newspaper in Coolidge, Ariz., from 2007 to 2009, staff writer at the Grand Island Independent from 2001 to 2007 and copy editor and writer for the Norfolk Daily News from 1999 to 2001.

Her family includes her husband, Don Sindelar, co-owner of Green Valley Irrigation, their five children and three grandchildren. She is the daughter of Dan and Joan Greger of Stuart. She also is a member of the Atkinson Community Foundation Fund advisory committee.

"After around 20 years of being in journalism, I am excited for a new adventure," Sindelar said. "I will miss covering events across Holt County, but I am looking forward to helping grow my hometown."

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