Lori Hansen will retire in December following a 23-year tenure as the recreation director for the City of Papillion. She has managed several large projects during a period of significant growth for the city and surrounding areas.

“The city has been really good to me … and they’ve given me a long leash to try a lot of new things and be involved in a lot of new things,” said Hansen.

A native of Minnesota, Hansen came to Nebraska to study at Dana College. Her original degree was in recreation, but she spent the first part of her career working for a healthcare system as a therapist and operations director. By 1998, she was ready for a change.

“I worked with populations within the mental health arena, substance abuse arena where funding was drying up and we were having to work really hard to get funding for programming and things were really changing,” said Hansen. “So, I know it sounds kind of odd, but when this opportunity kind of landed in my lap I really felt like it was something that I was supposed to pay attention to. It was going to be a new opportunity to do something new, and so I jumped. I took the chance.”

Hansen shepherded her department through several large projects including the recent opening of Papillion Landing Community Recreation Center and Field House. She also managed Papio Bay Aquatic Center, oversaw the addition of many other programs and services including a bus service, senior center, the Papillion Race Series, the Papillion Farmers Market and SumTur Amphitheater.