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Good life up for debate: Gretna City Council puts pause on vote for special election

The vote for a special election regarding the Good Life District Economic Development Program was put on pause at Gretna's Tuesday city council meeting.
Posted at 6:24 PM, Jun 20, 2024

GRETNA, Neb. (KMTV) — For months, KMTV has covered the development of the Good Life District in Gretna. Its developers say the district is designed to entice construction of hotels, sports venues, shopping, and more with the goal of attracting out-of-state visitors.

"It would be great if we could have those a lot closer and have some different experiences that families used to jump in the car and drive hours and hours to, let's keep that in the state," said Mayor Mike Evans.

After legislators passed a bill that cleared the way in the spring, one of the final steps was city of Gretna approval of a special election in August. But that has been put on pause until July 2 after the state stepped in and asked the city to delay the vote.

"They just mentioned that there were concerns and they wanted to make sure we get this right," said Evans. "We totally understand that. That was kind of the explanation to our understanding."

If the special election is approved, it would allow voters to have a say if the Good Life District Economic Development Program could take half the state sales tax collected in the district and give that money back to the development. The state hopes that giving sales tax back to the development would hopefully benefit local communities like Gretna.

"Our people are really close. They care about each other. They care about the town. Gretna is a special place and I'm glad to be involved with it," said Evans.

A Good Life District is also coming to Grand Island. Unlike Gretna, the Grand Island City Council on Tuesday approved for a special election for an economic development program.

KMTV asked the Department of Economic Development why it had issues with the vote on the agenda. In a statement from a DED spokesperson, it said in part, "There were some questions about elements of the public vote that were unclear. In that light, it seemed prudent to pause on the vote until there was clarity for all parties involved."

Evans said that if the council approves for a special election, it would be held either in November or January.

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