The Papillion Landing community recreation center, which opens today, is an impressive example of civic vision. The launch of the facility provides an occasion to note how so many communities across Nebraska have drawn on their local resources and vision to create important public amenities for civic events, recreation and the arts.

The 120,000-square-foot Papillion Landing provides a worthy exclamation point to the beginning of Papillion’s yearlong celebration of its 150th anniversary. Papillion Landing is a top-flight amenity, with an indoor water park, indoor playground, gym, yoga studio, cycling room and weight room. Plus a digital library, classrooms, a ballroom for weddings and other events, and an outdoor courtyard.

It’s always encouraging to see residents of Nebraska communities join together to create important civic assets. Here are just a few examples from across the state:

» Aurora has been a leader in developing homegrown foundations and nonprofits, starting in the 1950s. Through such local initiatives, the community completed projects including a library, museum, educational center, leadership center, community center, hospital expansion and independent living facilities.

» Ralston’s Hinge project, with its plans for housing, business development and greenspaces, aims to revitalize the area near the Ralston Arena on 72nd Street and attract people into downtown.

» Gering’s Civic Center has long stood out as a top-quality facility in western Nebraska. The 26,000-square-foot center has a range of conference and meeting facilities, plus a Grand Ballroom that can be divided into individual rooms.

» Pender, in Thurston County, built its $7.1 million, 38,500-square-foot community center several years ago with almost all local funds through private donations and foundation support. The facility includes the village offices, veterans organization, 24-hour fitness center, recreation and fine arts space and early childhood development center.

» Holdrege is home to the Tassel Performing Arts Center, a regional civic facility praised for its superb acoustics and funded almost entirely through local contributions. Holdrege Public Schools regularly uses the center for student performances.

» The South Sioux City area has achieved a strong soccer reputation in part through the quality facilities at Dible Field, which the community is attentive to maintain and upgrade.

» Lexington residents joined together in 2007 to develop plans for a community recreation center. The YMCA of Lexington became the vehicle for the project, opening the Orthman Community YMCA in 2014.

These is just a sampling of how Nebraskans, in communities large and small, have come together over the years to achieve major civic projects. Such local vision deserves applause.

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