Despite more than a decade of financial failure and vastly reduced attendance, former state Senator and chairman of the Great Platte River Road Archway Foundation Joel Johnson expects the Kearney Archway to survive.
“What a black eye the city of Kearney would get if we failed to do that,” Johnson says.
He defended the organization’s Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing earlier this week.
“With no prospect of being able to pay off the bond, have a judge say, ‘Sorry, bondholders, this is the end for you,'” he says.
The foundation is also counting on more visitors that will be delivered by the long-awaited Cherry Avenue Bypass which is scheduled to be open in a couple of months for the summer travel season. But, Johnson says admissions won’t do it all.
“Even with a 100% increase in the attendance, the Archway will still not pay its operating costs itself,” Johnson says. “There has to be outside support and that leaves absolutely no money that you would pay off the bonds.”
With those two things in place, Johnson said the foundation could go about raising the private donations he knows the archway will need to supplement admissions.
By Tyson Havranek, KHAS, Hastings