Slama invites public input for STAR WARS committee

LINCOLN - State Sen. Julie Slama invites Nebraskans to take part in a committee assigned to study areas for flood control, improved recreational opportunities and tourism growth.

The STAR WARS Committee, actually the Statewide Tourism and Recreational Water Access and Resource Sustainability Special Committee, was created by the state Legislature in LB406.

Sen. Slama said the committee is looking to explore new and improved recreation options and she is looking for input from District 1 residents.

Here is the senator’s column:

This past session, the Legislature passed LB 406 to create the Statewide Tourism and Recreational Water Access and Resource Sustainability Special Committee, better known as the "STAR WARS" Committee. LB 406 was introduced by Senator McDonnell, and the committee will study potential flood control projects and related economic development opportunities in Nebraska.

The STAR WARS Committee will conduct a study of different areas around the State of Nebraska to identify potential projects and opportunities to enhance the value of those areas through economic development, tourism and recreation, flood control, and water sustainability. These projects would use federal funds, which are coming into the state with certain requirements attached. While I'd like to see these funds returned to taxpayers directly through tax relief, these are usually conditions attached to federal funding which prevent that from happening.  Using these funds for one-time expenditures, such as for new or improved recreational opportunities, could grow tourism in our state and take some pressure off in-state taxpayers for generations to come.

Nebraska has many beautiful areas that are worth exploring and attract many visitors across the country. In our district alone, we have Indian Cave State Park, which provides beautiful views of the Missouri River and a great escape into nature. The findings of the STAR WARS Committee could lead to even more areas like this in District 1.

The STAR WARS Committee includes Sen. Brandt from Plymouth, Sen. Clements from Elmwood, Sen. Flood from Norfolk, Sen. Gragert from Creighton, Sen. Hughes from Venango, Sen. McCollister from Omaha, Sen. McDonnell from Omaha, Sen. Wishart from Lincoln, the Chairman of the Natural Resources Committee, and the Speaker of the Legislature. These senators represent Nebraskans all across the state, and they're ready to get started brainstorming ideas for across the state. 

That is where you come in. Since the STAR WARS Committee is looking to explore new and improved recreation options, I need your thoughts. What do you think would be the best recreation project for our district? Would it be better to have a larger lake in our area, or better camping facilities in our current parks? More park development along the Missouri River? Our district has so much to offer when it comes to natural beauty, and it is important for the STAR WARS Committee to consider projects to grow tourism in our corner of the state. We don't want to miss the boat on this once-in-a-generation opportunity!

As always, I welcome your input on issues important to you. Follow along on my Facebook and Twitter pages, both entitled “Senator Julie Slama” for more updates, or contact me directly at Senator Julie Slama, District 1 State Capitol, PO Box 94604, Lincoln NE 68509-4604; telephone: 402-471-2733; email: jslama@leg.ne.gov.

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