After spending 45 years in real estate — “right here in Bellevue,” as he puts it — Ward 2 City Councilman John Hansen said he knows one thing for sure: If you want plentiful retail and commercial development, cutting edge recreational facilities, great roads and a fully funded fire department, you have to have taxpayers.

Residents, or “rooftops,” are the beginning point, he said, because commercial activity follows people, and where there is commercial activity there is an expanded tax base, from which all good things flow.

“Whoever’s looking to bring that development, whether it’s a restaurant or something else, they’re going to look at traffic counts and population counts,” Hansen said. “You have to have the people.”

Hansen, 71, a Republican, longtime real estate broker and former president of the Bellevue Board of Education, is seeking re-election to his Ward 2 City Council seat in November.

He is being challenged by Bob Stinson, a retired Bellevue police officer, also a Republican.

Bellevue is currently experiencing such a residential boom, he said, as homes arise on 1,500 lots near 48th Street and Capehart Road, a boom made possible by the redrawing of school district boundaries, which Hansen long advocated.

As that area fills in, he said, commercial and retail development will follow, even if on a smaller scale than major shopping centers like Shadow Lake in Papillion.

“Are we going to be a super retail place like a Shadow Lake or Village Pointe, I just don’t see it,” he said. “But I do see commercial development coming around. It follows residential development.”

Hansen said economic development is nothing new to him. During his 45-year real estate career, he said, he brokered deals that brought Bellevue the SAC Federal Credit Union, the Ashford Hollow subdivision near Twin Creek, the Walgreens store on Galvin Road and the construction of 96 apartment units at 36th Street and Capehart Road. He also had an early involvement in bringing the Kwik Shop to Olde Towne, he said.

Offutt Air Force Base, he said, remains critical to Bellevue’s civic health, as it does to the economic health of the greater Omaha area and to the state of Nebraska itself.

Hansen said that as a founder of the private Offutt Advisory Council he has maintained a decades-long involvement in building a strong relationship between the base and the city and still represents the base on national panels.

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