Nebraska Department of Economic Development recognizes Gretna as a Leadership Certified Community.
Evolving efforts to develop a business, recreational and residential hub within the growing city of Gretna (pop. 9,300) have received ongoing recognition from the State of Nebraska. The Department of Economic Development (DED) recently announced the City’s recertification in Nebraska’s Leadership Certified Community (LCC) program. DED Southeast Nebraska Business Development Consultant, Dave Honz, honored local leaders during a special presentation on January 4.
Gretna is one of 31 Nebraska LCC’s, and was among the state’s first dozen communities to earn status in the program, which was created in 2011 to help villages and municipalities adapt to ongoing changes and opportunities in economic development. Certified communities must demonstrate an understanding for and preparedness in strategic planning, and display readiness in technological development to help new and existing businesses grow. Qualifying LCC’s earn status in the program for five years and are required to maintain community websites to market local development, which may include information on available sites and buildings and regional employment opportunities. Gretna became Nebraska’s 11th LCC in 2016 before being recertified in late 2021.
Gretna board leaders’ successful annexation efforts surrounding the community have created opportunities to accommodate its growing population, which has nearly doubled over the past several years. The City permitted 33 commercial and industrial permits in 2021, as well as 270 new homes, within its extraterritorial zoning jurisdiction (ETJ). ETJ were created in Nebraska to provide additional space for suburban development and allow first class cities to designate the same property use regulations, building, electrical and plumbing ordinances that are regulated within a city’s limits.
Council embers in Gretna passed an ordinance in 2017 to annex nearly 3,000 acres to extend the village’s ETJ, which are all located within Gretna Public Schools territory. Construction is currently underway at the district’s second high school. Work on the territory’s 8th elementary school is anticipated to begin this spring.
“Our City appreciates the opportunity to create additional educational and residential options as Gretna continues to grow,” said Development Services Director Daniel Giittinger. “By doing so, we are encouraging Sarpy County’s workforce and their families to call our community home.”
Gretna officials are in the preliminary process of building a new park, aquatic and recreational center. The $50 million project will include baseball and softball complexes, a disc golf course, a dog park and fishing pond, and numerous biking and walking trails.
Giittinger said this recent community project is just one example of local leaders’ efforts to drive economic development encouraged by Nebraska’s LCC program.
“Annexation efforts led by progressive leaders in Gretna are creating a unique space for growth, much of which has happened since we became a part of the LCC program,” Giittinger said. “We look forward to exploring additional ways to help our city thrive.”
For more information about the Leadership Certified Community (LCC) Program, contact Kelly Gewecke at firstname.lastname@example.org or 308-627-3151, or visit https://opportunity.nebraska.gov/program/leadership-certified-community/.