Sarpy County Young Professionals had a chance to get up close and personal with the mayors of Sarpy County last month.
The group, a subset of the Sarpy County Chamber of Commerce, hosted a panel discussion with mayors and representatives from Bellevue, Gretna, La Vista, Springfield and Papillion.
“It’s more personalized. It’s an opportunity for us to ask questions that affect our age group and demographic,” said Allison Malone, vice chair of the Sarpy County Young Professionals.
About 37 young professionals attended the event, which was held Sept. 24 at Hillcrest Country Estates in Papillion.
Bellevue Planning Director Chris Shewchuk discussed Bellevue’s industrial and commercial development, as well as repaired flood damage at Haworth Park and American Heroes Park. Mayor Rita Sanders could not attend the event.
Gretna Mayor Jim Timmerman focused on the city’s new Nebraska Crossing outlet mall.
“That’s the biggest project right now,” Timmerman said. “That’s Gretna’s signature.”
He also discussed the growing school district and plans for a trail system and bike path.
La Vista Mayor Doug Kindig emphasized the teamwork shown by cities in Sarpy County.
“We’re in competition every day with every city for new development,” Kindig said. “If I lose, I’m OK losing to these cities.”
As for the city, Kindig said they are still actively pursuing an entertainment district despite plans for the Southport West outlets falling through.
He also discussed the city’s plans for 84th Street revitalization and outsourcing the city’s fire services to the Papillion Fire Department.
Springfield Mayor Mike Dill spoke of the city’s concentration on revitalizing the area’s downtown. The city sees a lot of traffic daily, Dill said. Now they are planning for growth.
“Our turn is right around the corner,” Dill said. “We still have that small town atmosphere.”
Papillion Mayor David Black stressed the importance of young professionals in the community.
He addressed Papillion’s recent No. 8 placement in CNN/Money Magazine’s biannual rankings of America’s Best Places to Live. Black said Papillion wouldn’t get the recognition without the rest of Sarpy County.
Like some of the other panel members, Black discussed the importance of having a downtown area.
“Downtown is your identity,” Black said.
After the panel spoke, young professionals had an opportunity to ask questions and find out how they can contribute in the cities where they live and work.
Attendees asked about housing development, road projects and challenges that the cities face.
“What young professionals can do and where we can contribute don’t always come up in day-to-day talks,” Malone said.