- Associated Press - Thursday, December 1, 2016

SPRINGFIELD, Neb. (AP) - Workers are preparing for the construction of a $12 million housing and commercial development that will be the first major development in the rural community of Springfield since the 1970s.

The $6 million first phase of the Springfield Pines project will create 128 single family homes, The Omaha World-Herald reported (https://bit.ly/2gqjv4M ). Developer Gene Graves said 37 lots will be ready within the next month and the rest of the lots will be ready for construction in the spring. According to Graves, the homes will go for $300,000 to $400,000.

City Council member Dan Craney, who was on the city’s planning commission in the 1980s, said Springfield, a city of about 1,600 people 30 miles south of Omaha, had a long-running habit of rejecting new projects and businesses that were interested in development.

Mick Kreifels, who used to help his family with their Springfield store 60 to 70 years ago, said the city had been opposing development since the 1870s because it liked that Springfield was quiet and surrounded by farms. Springfield Drug and Soda Fountain owner Keith Hentzen said the attitude of the town was that there was no need for further development.

Residents agreed that attitudes have changed since then thanks to the city’s late former mayor, Mike Dill, who made improvements to Springfield that attracted new businesses.

“People honestly believe they’re going to have to accept some growth if they want to survive as a town,” Craney said.

Current mayor Bob Roseland said the goal is to accept growth while keeping it controlled.

“Highway 50 is growing quickly,” Roseland said. “We can’t sit on our hands anymore.”

A second phase is expected to bring 156 more homes to the area. Retail spaces, an assisted-living facility and a new elementary school may also be built.

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Information from: Omaha World-Herald, https://www.omaha.com


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