It wasn’t much of an increase, but it was an increase.
The Great Platte River Road Archway Monument that spans I-80 at Kearney saw a slight increase in attendance last year.
Marketing Coordinator Jace Robinson says 50,457 people visited the monument, a one percent increase of attendance from 2013.
The increase came despite the fact that it was closed for the first two months of the year for renovations.
“Cleaned up the facility a little bit. It hadn’t really been done in the 14 years we have been in operation,” Robinson tells Nebraska Radio Network affiliate KXPN. “We just kind of freshened everything up and got it back to feeling the way it was supposed to.”
Attendance in 2014 was the highest since 2011.
Robinson says the Archway anticipates the 1.5 millionth visitor to tour the monument this year as it celebrates its 15th anniversary in 2015.
The monument is a $60 million facility with 90 acres.
Robinson says the monument relies on volunteers from the Kearney area.
“We do have staff, but at the same time it’s great to have a lot of volunteers,” Robinson says. “We have a lot of great, dedicated volunteers. Not only do they come out when we have big events, but they also come out every day whether it’s helping us run the cash register or helping get people acquainted with how the archway operates.”
The Archway Society is in the planning stages of a bi-annual fundraiser that is expected to occur sometime this spring.
Brent Wiethorn, KXPN, contributed to this story.