GRETNA, Neb. (KMTV) — In two years a large piece of land that was formerly a 150-acre farm will turn into Gretna Crossing Park, complete with a water park, sports fields, dog park, disc golf course, walking spaces, and amphitheater.
“So pretty much anything a community member or visitor wants to do, they can come to Gretna Crossing Park and get it done,” said Paula Dennison, city administrator of Gretna.
The $53 million park is being funded from a half-cent sales tax raise voters approved last year.
Mayor Mike Evans says as the city builds more housing and infrastructure it’s important to also give residents things to do.
“We also had to carve out space, open space, for quality of life,” said Evans.
While the city technically sits at around 5,000 people, due to a recent annexation, the actual numbers are believed to be higher. The park is being built for a bigger city, one that expects to grow even more over the coming decades.
“They didn’t want to plan for what our city’s going to be in five years, or ten years, they saw it as we’ve got a shot to do something fantastic for the next 50 years,” said Dennison.
The city isn’t going at this alone. They collaborated with the local YMCA to run the rec and aquatics center, as well as Gretna Public Schools, whose students will use the pool for practice.
“Instead of the swimmers driving into Omaha at four o'clock in the morning for a pool, they’re going to have something local,” said Evans.
Finally, it sits at a convenient spot, just one mile away from the popular Nebraska Crossing shopping center. City leaders are hoping folks from the outside double-dip.
“One of the reasons Gretna kind of grew was between Lincoln and Omaha, and we have a lot of tourism traffic that comes there, so I think a lot of people will come here and it’ll complement each other,” said Evans.
“Somebody comes to shop, they hear about the park, just up the road, well maybe I’m going to spend another day or two,” said Dennison.
While some portions of the park will be done earlier, the park won’t fully open until everything is complete.
That’s expected to be done in the summer of 2023.