GRAND ISLAND, Neb. - - Grand Island City Council members will soon be presenting a resolution that could transform the city for years to come. 

The state has approved an application from developer Woodsonia to classify a planned $550 million project as a Good Life District. On Tuesday, the council will consider calling a special election to use tax money to help fund the development.

“Well, good life district is an economic development tool. It’s all it does," said city administrator Laura McAloon.  "All the good life district does is create that tax, that local opportunity for tax revenue that could be spent locally within the boundaries of the good life district.”

In a Good Life District, the state sales tax rate is cut in half from 5.5% to 2.75%. The city is considering asking voters to create an economic development district that would allow either or both a local sales tax of up to 2.75% and an occupation tax. That tax money would then be utilized for development costs anywhere in the Good Life District. 

Grand Island Area Economic Development President Mary Berlie said this could have a great impact on the city.

“It’s important for Grand Island voters just to really understand and embrace that this could be a transformational economic opportunity for our community if and when it comes in front of the voters in August,” Berlie said. 

The Good Life District includes the north part of Grand Island surrounding the historic Veteran’s Cemetery and Veteran’s home and extending to the under-construction Conestoga Marketplace.

The proposed new development would be called Veterans' Village and would be anchored by sports fields and facilities. The 400-plus acres of mixed used development area would include a blend of residential, commercial, retail, sports, recreation and entertainment components. It is estimated to create 5,000 new jobs.

“Ultimately is the citizens decision of should the city take advantage of that tax capacity that the state has created,” said McAloon. 

Grand Island is only the third Good Life District to be approved in the state. The other two are Gretna’s Nebraska Crossing shopping center and the Avenue One development in Omaha. This could be the first one where voters get to decide.