157-acre Gretna Crossing Park making steady progress

Gretna broke ground on the property last spring
About a year ago, the city of Gretna started construction on a huge new park and recreation facility.
Published: Aug. 15, 2022 at 10:22 PM CDT
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GRETNA, Neb. (WOWT) - By the fall of 2023, Gretna won’t just be home to one of the largest shopping centers in the area but will also be home to one of the largest, multi-purpose parks.

Gretna Crossing Park has been a plan in progress for years and now the 157-acre piece of land is transforming.

As the city continues to grow, the city knew it needed to do something more to accommodate the needs of its residents. In 2020, the city purchased the giant plot of land, and in May of the same year, residents voted to approve a half-cent sales tax to help pay for it.

“For so long, everybody in Gretna kept having to leave Gretna to go shop and go to a park, everything was in Omaha we’d have to drive 20 to 30 minutes one way, do something and drive home,” says Gretna Mayor Mike Evans. “Now, instead of being a commuter town of Omaha, now we’re Gretna, we’re our own community and we have our own amenities and things to do.”

“It’s gonna be very beneficial, especially for our family, we have one kid that likes water and one kid that doesn’t like water so it’s going to give us multiple options,” says Kate Pieper, who recently moved to Gretna from Alaska. The park is being built a few hundred feet behind her new home.

Gretna broke ground on the property last spring.

Gretna’s city administrator, Paula Dennison, tells 6 News the park will have a little bit of everything.

“We tell everybody we’ve got the premiere shopping in Nebraska with the Nebraska Crossing Mall, now we’re gonna have the premiere park [with] indoor and outdoor recreation activity,” she says.

The highlight of the park is the recreation and aquatic center, which will be managed by the YMCA when complete.

“It’s gonna have all kinds of gym opportunities, as well as an indoor pool that our Gretna Public Schools, will use as their competition pool.”

The outdoor portion of the rec center will be one of the main attractions for many.

“The lazy river, an outdoor zero entry pool, as well as three multi-story slides,” Dennison says.

But that’s not even close to all that the now $60 million park will offer.

“18-hole disc golf course, an amphitheater, a nature area, outdoor classroom, walking trails through and around the entire park, and to connect the park with the rest of our community.”

It will also have four baseball fields, four softball fields, four dual-use fields for sports like soccer and football, a fishing pond, and a playground.

“That’s the great thing about this park, it has something for everybody,” Mayor Evans says.

“I thought it was just going to be an outdoor rec center, with a soccer field, baseball field and that was kinda it, but clearly not,” says Pieper. “It’s way more than that, so we’re all super excited, especially our kids.”

Evans and Dennison say it says a lot about the tight-knit community of around 5,000 people to invest in the future of their area to be willing to take on the responsibility and obligation to help pay for it with the half-cent tax.

“We’re not doing this to attract more people, we’re doing this because this is who we are, this is our values and our expectation for the quality of life and if people enjoy that type of amenity and quality of life, we sure would like to have them,” Evans says.

Instead of opening amenities as they are completed, the entire park will open at one time when everything is finished.

Officials expect that to be in the fall of 2023.

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