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Financial woes catch up to Kearney Archway
We've all seen it driving down I-80. The Great Platte River Road Archway, that is. They're filing for chapter 11 bankruptcy.
Problems for the Archway date back to when it opened back in 2000. They originally estimated the Archway would attract a million visitors a year. But, it's never even been close.
2001 brought the biggest turnout of 250,000 visitors. Numbers pretty much went down hill from there.
From the moment you step in the door it's a trip back in time.
For one man, it's a chance to bring his history to life.
Roger Echo-Hawk traveled from Colorado just to see the Pawnee exhibit.
"It reflects the current relationship between the Pawnee Nation and local Nebraskans," said Echo-Hawk.
He's one of only a few inside the Archway at this moment. Outside car after car passes by.
"I think it's really neat. We didn't realize it was a walking tour."
It's what people don't know about the Archway that might be keeping them away.
Archway administrators cite another reason for their lack of success.
"The reason that this site was chosen to build the Archway is because right next door to us is where the second exit to Kearney was meant to be all along," said Archway Board of Directors President Joel Johnson.
But, that exit still isn't finished. Even then, will it be the missing link?
"We expect the second exit to distinctly help attendance here. It would not in itself be the lifesaver," Johnson said.
Filing for bankruptcy doesn't mean the end of the road for the Archway. It just means that it's a chance for reorganization.
"We like to look at it as a second starting place," Johnson said.
Johnson says they're hoping that a judge will determine where they stand with bond creditors within the next 90 days.
The Archway cost $60 million in bonds to build.
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