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A deeper look at the growth of Gretna: 'We are intentionally developing our community'

Posted at 8:16 PM, Sep 20, 2022

GRETNA, Neb. (KMTV) — The metro area's largest industrial park is one of many developments coming to the Gretna area.

The latest development comes without a lease holder set. The developers are confident it will be filled soon due to high demand.

Learn more: Amid growing need, new warehouse space coming to Sarpy and Douglas Counties

It tops onto a small lake and dam project announced recently, a large community park including sports fields and a water park and a new high school.

Gretna Warehouse
Warehouse construction in Gretna

"A lot of people come to Gretna because of our ... sense of community," said Mayor Mike Evans of Gretna. "It used to be we'd have to go to Omaha for everything, whether it's a restaurant or to get (groceries)."

Now, though, he lists just a few everyday examples of the city's expansion: Hy-Vee is building one of the largest stores in the area, he said, and Hillcrest is building a senior living community.

"We're starting to get recognized as a place where businesses want to be," Evans said.

Through the development, Evans says work is being done to ensure the expansion reflects its tight-knit community feel.

"We'll start releasing more and more (plans)," Evans said. "But we are intentionally developing our community the way we want it to be instead of the way developers are going to want to do it."

Evans said that doesn't mean turning away developments.

"We just explain here's what we feel our community looks like and here's what we think is a really good use," he said.

Gretna Warehouse.jpg
Warehouse construction in Gretna

"You only have a chance to do this right once," Evans said, "Because in five or ten years, a lot of this is going to be developed."

Annexation nearly doubles Gretna's land, population

Last year, Gretna nearly doubled in size after a lawsuit with Sarpy County over annexation concluded, absorbing land mostly to the east.

City officials said it nearly doubled their land mass and population. The population, now about 9,500, Evans said, was roughly 5,000 before the annexation.

Gretna had annexed another 3,000 acres four years prior.

The annexation resulted in a massive increase in Gretna's property tax base. Valuations have increased, but a more than doubling (151%) of total valuation is mostly due to the annexation.

2021: After Nebraska Supreme Court ruling, Gretna will more than double in landmass

Gretna Crossing Park

A $53 million park is being funded from a half-cent sales tax raise voters approved in 2020.

What was once a 150-acre farm is set to become Gretna Crossing Park, complete with a water park, sports fields, dog park, disc golf course, walking spaces and amphitheater.

2021: Gretna prepares for $53 million park

Small lake and dam

West of 204th and Schram Road, 65 acres of park including a 15-acre lake, dam, and more than a mile of trails are in the works. The Papio-Missouri River Natural Resource District project is funded by the district and federally by FEMA.

"This could be really nice not only for the flood control, but it's going to be another lake in the area," said Evans.

Gretna East High School

Gretna is set to open a second high school in 2023. Construction is well underway.

Gretna Public Schools sat at just over 6,000 students earlier this year. That's about 1,500 more students than five years ago.

In the next 30 to 40 years, projections show the district will be of similar size to Millard Public Schools, Gretna's superintendent told 3 News Now in February.

Learn more: Growing pains for Gretna schools

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