Sarpy County is sending the right signal about how it intends to prepare for its future.
Municipal and county officials are in preliminary discussions to work out a coordinated, cost-effective strategy to extend growth in an orderly fashion into the country’s rural areas in the coming years.
This is responsible, proactive leadership.
As The World-Herald’s Emily Nohr reported Friday, the discussions focus on two overall needs: (1) planning for the Highway 50 corridor south of Highway 370, and (2) coordinated sewer extensions into unincorporated areas.
Sarpy County has already experienced extraordinary growth, of course, and responsible collaboration among local officials to manage the county’s anticipated new growth certainly is warranted.
As Nohr’s article explained, Sarpy County’s population, at 165,900, has doubled since 1980 and increased by 28 percent over the past 10 years.
Sarpy is now home to major shopping complexes, Werner Park and multimillion-dollar data centers, as well as Nebraska’s third-largest city, Bellevue. The county now has 100,000 registered voters. La Vista is working on redevelopment of 84th Street, and Bellevue is expected to see new growth once the new Missouri River bridge opens south of the city later this year.
On the sewer extension issue, various officials rightly noted to Nohr that it’s far better now to prepare and invest through an overall plan for sewer line extensions than to try to play catch-up later. Jeff Kooistra, the city administrator for Gretna, points to a section along Highway 6 as an example where a lack of planning caused headaches.
The discussions are only in the beginning stage, with many different players and varying interests to be reconciled. This won’t be a simple task.
But Sarpy officials deserve great credit for having the foresight to start the discussions and outline the key goals. Residents should be well served if that vision of planned, cooperative growth becomes reality.