• Sarpy Chamber president sees bright future ahead for the county's economy

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    February 06, 2024

    Sarpy County has seen strong growth during the past two years, and Sarpy Chamber President Karen Gibler expects to see the momentum continue.

    “We’re seeing a real good blend of commercial and residential,” she said.

    Multiple residential projects are underway, from single-family to apartments, condos and senior living facilities, Gibler said. There are also a lot of small and medium-size businesses opening.

    Gibler sees the chamber’s role as connecting the different partners who make things happen.

    “The chamber aspires to be a bridge between businesses and the county and resources,” she said.

    Near Gretna, Hy-Vee opened a super-size store at 10855 S. 191st St. in June, and a Culver’s and several fast-food restaurants opened in the surrounding area. A new Walgreens is under construction a block away, and Fleet Farm has purchased a chunk of land just west of there. The community has also attracted a Lovely Skin warehouse, new Christian Brothers Automotive Center, Jensen Tire and Brakes Plus, as well as financial institutions and other businesses.

    Gretna Crossing Park opened in September, in concert with a new YMCA, ball fields, swimming pools, amphitheater and dog park.

    Expanded access to the area might bring even more development.

    “They’re looking at another exchange for I-80 into Sarpy,” Gibler said.

    A MAPA study found that 192nd Street would be the best place for a new interchange, she said.

    A little further out, the owner of Nebraska Crossing outlet mall wants to build a major expansion that would include hotels, athletic fields and entertainment venues, according to an article in the Omaha World Herald. He is seeking tax incentives to help finance the project.

    In Papillion, Home Goods opened a store at Shadow Lake Towne Center, followed by Skechers, Skin Experts and Dogtopia, although the shopping center lost its Best Buy store earlier in 2023, and the city also lost Monarch Grill by La Paz.

    Some big projects are in the works in Papillion, too. Omaha Public Power District plans to build its Turtle Creek Station power plant near 168th and Fairview Road, and grading is underway for a 120-acre commercial and residential development on the land northwest of the Washington Street and Highway 370 intersection. The Tower District is billed as a “charming, walkable mixed-use community.”

    “That stayed a piece of farm ground for many years,” Gibler said.

    La Vista’s City Centre is drawing businesses and restaurants, and its Astro Music Venue & Amphitheater are attracting entertainment fans, she said. The first phase of the CHI Health Multisport Complex was completed last year and included 12 all-turf, lighted multisport fields, a spacious parking area and a building with concessions and restrooms. This year, work will begin on the second phase, which will include tennis courts and an indoor field house with year-round facilities.

    As growth continues, there are infrastructure improvements that need to happen – perhaps most notably, the Southern Sarpy Sewer System, Gibler said.

    “Sarpy does not want to increases taxes to pay for it,” she said.

    Under development in Bellevue is a $200M office park known as the NC3 Project, described as a national defense innovation and research hub. Plans are to start with 13 acres and leave room to expand to as many as 60.

    Currently in limbo is the Belle Vue Racetrack and Casino project. Bellevue officials want to develop a quarter horse racetrack, casino, hotel and waterpark west of Highway 75 along Platteview Road, but a study commissioned by the Nebraska Racing and Gaming Commission found that the state has ample capacity for gaming with the six licenses already issued.

    The National Guard plans to build a $36 million Bellevue Readiness Center, bringing more money and jobs into the community. The city plans to spend more than $3 million to upgrade parks and build a new public library.

    Old Towne has been renamed the Frontier District. A $17 million project with 18,000 square feet of retail space and 53 luxury apartments is planned, along with streetscape and infrastructure improvements.

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