A week from Wednesday the Great Platte River Road Archway monument in Kearney filed for bankruptcy. Now the process has begun to find a way to restructure the tourist attraction to help make a profit.
The Archway opened in 2000 but they have since struggled to make a profit. They hoped to lure in traffic from Interstate 80, but with no exits near the site they are left with a lot of debt owed to many local businesses.
What was once a promising gateway to the West envisioned by the late Nebraska governor Frank Morrison, now has an uncertain future.
"We always knew it could happen, they've had financial problems for years but it's still a big shock," said owner of the Stagecoach Gary Glandon.
The Stagecoach in Kearney one of the businesses owed money by the Archway. They owe around $11,000 to the retailer.
A few months ago we stopped receiving money," said Glandon.
The Stagecoach has items that are sold at the monument.
"For the last 10 years we have provided them with gifts for their gift store on a consignment basis," said Glandon.
Here's a list of some money owned to local businesses:
- Stagecoach: $10,797
- Yanda's Pro Audio $9,210
- Warren-T Drain and Pluming $5,530
- Benjamin's Landscaping $1,927
Since the attraction open in 2000, the attendance numbers have decreased dramatically:
- 2000: 223,013
- 2001: 249,174
- 2002: 163,412
- 2003: 134,805
- 2004: 107,295
- 2005: 88,507
- 2006: 77,953
- 2007: 68.227
- 2008: 56,142
- 2009: 58,643
- 2010: 60,720
- 2011: 54,520
- 2012: 49,960
"They need to change exhibits or something to bring people in on a continual basis, give them a reason to come back," said Glandon.
Among this doom and gloom there's hope everything will eventually work out.
"It needs to be kept open and functioning and that's our goal. And we're optimistic that's going to happen," said President of the Great Platte River Road Archway Memorial Foundation Joel Johnson.