City of Springfield seeing job growth, land expansion

Posted at 11:31 AM, Nov 05, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-05 12:31:08-04

SPRINGFIELD, Neb. (KMTV) — In Springfield, 2021 has been a year defined by the convergence of tradition and technology.

The city has quietly worked for years to prepare for manageable growth, so what's happening doesn't come as a surprise to leaders; however, what the rest of us see is incredible.

Jon Meyers owns an Omaha-based warehouse, trucking and real estate company. In September 2020, Meyers purchased 80 acres along Highway 50, and crews have worked quickly. The first building will, in part, house a tire distributor. In another nearby building — a door distributor.

"The growth in Omaha and certainly in Sarpy County has been explosive, and there's no land to develop. And there's a good track of land down here. We don't think Springfield is too far south. It's six minutes from the interstate," Meyers said.

"We still want to be that small-town feel, you know, but we want that controlled growth between the high school and our fire department so that we don't outgrow each other," said Mayor Bob Roseland who grew up in Springfield.

City Administrator Kathleen Gottsch has worked to strike that balance.

"We think it's really important to have a wide variety of business come in. We have some new, larger businesses come in — but our small business district is extremely important to the community, as well," Gottsch said.

Springfield's thriving Main Street reflects the tradition embraced by residents and visitors alike.

Construction at Highway 50 and Capehart Road reflects a significant piece of the City's future: a $1.5 billion data center. It's a one-of-a-kind operation from Meta, formerly known as Facebook. Springfield annexed the land in March — 492 acres which nearly doubled the City's land size.

The annexation has not yet affected the population much, according to Mayor Roseland. Springfield will soon see effects otherwise.

"It's going to be great for the community to bring in that property tax valuation — so we'll see what that does," Gottsch said.

Springfield's potential is being realized in large part because of development we don't see. In 2018, Nebraska's Legislature approved the creation of a sewer agency comprised of five cities and Sarpy County. Taking that step made it possible for Meta and Meyers to invest.

"We cannot imagine a better place for us to be, for our employees to live and work and raise their family, and a better set of community partners that truly care about this community and really want to be collaborative partners. And that's just priceless for us," said Matt Sexton, a regional community development manager for Meta Data Centers.

"We're excited. We have a lot to go... a couple more years to develop it, but we're excited for it," Meyers said.

Grow Sarpy Executive Director Andrew Rainbolt summarized 2021.

"The last year in Springfield has been a lot of firsts I think. Some of our first major economic development projects... and our second. It's been a year of groundbreakings here," he said.

Meyers' first two tenants will employ up to 150 people. Meta's Sarpy Data Center will support up to 300 jobs.

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