Steve Ryan worries his million dollar view won’t be worth a dime if the City of Gretna, Nebraska builds soccer and ball fields on farmland that his home overlooks.
Ryan says, “We came out here for the tranquility and scenery and that’s all gone if we see parking lots lights and ball fields.”
Gretna city officials have been kicking around the idea of building a large sports complex to ease growing pains. City Attorney John K Green calls Gretna the “Next Millard” with youth population exploding from 250 to 1,000 in recent years.
But Green says buying land closer to town would come at a premium with developers wanting up to $45,000 an acre.
So Gretna has sent appraisals to two farmland owners for a total of 110 acres about three miles northwest of town. If they refuse to sell the city may force a sale through eminent domain. Green says, “We only go eminent domain if we can’t reach a negotiated agreement with people we’ve identified as their property the most appropriate.”
But a Gretna taxpayer is circulating a petition against the eminent domain proposal.
George McFarling says, “It amounts to theft of an elderly widow's property whether legal or not.”
All sides will have a chance to be heard on the proposal at a city council hearing 7pm November 17th in Gretna.
No final decision has been made.