The site of Nebraska’s new 1,500-bed state prison has changed. It will still be built in Lincoln, but north of Interstate 80 instead of south of it.
Gov Jim Pillen announced earlier this month that it would be just northeast of several subdivisions, but Wednesday morning joined Lincoln Mayor Leirion Gaylor Baird in announcing it will instead be built near the city landfill
Pillen said it’s a site they originally considered but that the City didn’t want to sell because of possible future landfill expansion.
The selection and purchase of the site south of the freeway drew complaints from developers who would lose building sites and subdivision residents who feared increased noise and traffic.
The governor and Mayor Gaylor Baird returned to negotiations and settled on a land swap, since both sites are about 300 acres
The mayor calls it a win-win situation with Governor Pillen acknowledging that the first prison site in a fast-growing urban residential area “doesn’t make sense” and that the new location was his first choice all along.
Pillen said the state will complete the $17 million purchase of the land to be swapped with the city and does not expect the exchange to increase the cost or delay construction of the new prison.
New state corrections director Rob Jeffreys says construction is expected to begin in the fall of next year and be completed by the first half of 2027