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Nebraska city looks to create outdoor recreation area

April 8, 2019

GRETNA, Neb. (AP) — Officials in eastern Nebraska hope to turn a large tract of city-owned land into a recreation area with a golf course, fishing pond, dog park, outdoor education center, picnic area and amphitheater.

The Gretna City Council last month approved the master plan for the recreation area, which will span 80 acres (32 hectares), the Omaha World-Herald reported.

The project will create a signature park in the city, said Jeff Kooistra, the city administrator.

“We don’t have a major park in the community,” he said.

The plan also calls for baseball and softball fields, as well as a modern aquatics center that would replace the city’s aging pool, which was built in the late 1960s. The pool suffered a major leak last year and the repair company told city officials it should consider building a new pool.

“Fifty years is awfully old,” Kooistra said.

The Gretna High School swim team would be one of the main users of the new pool. The school doesn’t have its own pool, which has hindered the swim team, said Superintendent Kevin Riley. The students often have to travel to pools in Omaha to practice.

The city plans to prioritize the construction of the pool, but infrastructure needs such as land grading, water access and road pavement will need to be addressed before work can begin, Kooistra said.

The school district and the city have discussed ways to share the cost of the pool, but no agreements have been finalized, Riley said.

The entire recreation area project will likely cost tens of millions of dollars and officials are still figuring out funding, Kooistra said.

“It’s going to be a lot of money,” he said. “It’s all about the money.”

It will be years before the project is completed, officials said.

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Information from: Omaha World-Herald, http://www.omaha.com

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