GRETNA, Neb. — A future Interstate 80 interchange is stirring up drama in an eastern Nebraska county.

Gretna and Papillion city officials have been struggling to come to an agreement about sharing the area around the interchange. The area is in high demand because Nebraska Highway 50 is flourishing and the area could provide cities with more space to expand.

The Omaha World-Herald reports that Gretna annexed land around the future interchange last month.

Gretna council members said they felt threatened by Papillion and took the steps to annex the area in order to secure their development plans. Gretna officials hope to use the area for retail and mixed-use development or for a business and office park development.

“We want to have control, and that’s because it’s going to involve significant development and economic growth,” Gretna City Administrator Jeff Kooistra said of the intersection.

Papillion Mayor David Black had proposed a boundary agreement that would give Papillion land on the southern side of I-80. Gretna countered with a different boundary proposal but Black declined the offer, according to Papillion spokesman Trenton Albers.

Discussions have since halted, though both cities have “left the door open for future discussions,” Albers said.

“I would say the smart thing for orderly growth of the county is for both Papillion and Gretna to have a presence at the interchange,” Black said.

Sarpy County has filed a lawsuit challenging Gretna’s annexation.

Much of the county has been divided in boundary agreements between five cities, which limits where cities can grow.

Information from: Omaha World-Herald,

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