When it comes to plans for a 4,000 acre lake (if it helps that’s 3,000 football fields) somewhere between Omaha and Lincoln—likely near Linoma Beach?—there aren’t a lot of guarantees.

And Monday that included one top state official when asked about the use of eminent domain to secure some of the land answering, “I never say never in almost any of these circumstances.”

At the same time, Speaker of the Legislature, Mike Hilgers insisted all would be done to keep the state from stepping in and taking land—for a price—from anyone who doesn’t want to sell.

Speaker Hilgers: “This is meant to be a win-win-win for the State of Nebraska and the people. And that includes the people whose land might be part of this lake; we're looking for arm’s length transactions. The stories that we heard both during the testimony and otherwise about people who lost their land through eminent domain process were difficult to hear. And that is absolutely not the approach that we're taking and which way we're headed.”

According to Hilgers, who spoke following Gov. Ricketts bill signing on LB1023—which calls for a $200 million investment in several lakes and parks—a go or no-go decision on the lake is two-to-three years away.

The time needed for three key items: a hydrology study, private investors and yes, land acquisition.