Business Owners Speak Out About Historical Zoning in Kearney


The debate on how to preserve historic buildings in downtown Kearney is rolling on. Business owners are speaking out about a proposed plan to give downtown Kearney a facelift.

The proposal aims to zone Kearney as a historical preservation overlay district. That means the city would have the authority to demolish buildings or replace business signs in order to preserve what they say is the historical significance of the area. Some business owners say that authority is key.

"One of the concerns we have is trying to maintain a good viable business community downtown here in Kearney. And part of what gives us that flavor different than a shopping mall or whatever, is that we have a great environment with a lot of, I call it 'nostalgia' down here," said Doug Deterding, owner of Deterdings in downtown Kearney.

The district would encompass all the blocks from North Railroad Street to 25th Street, and from Second Avenue to Avenue B. Deterding says in his travels around the country, the thing that catches his eye is how certain downtowns have that fascinating nostalgia.

"The things we enjoy when we do travel is seeing a bit of history and a little bit of a sense of history that a community gives. And certainly the downtown area here in Kearney gives us a sense of history that is really what the personality of Kearney is all about," said Deterding.

Deterding also points out that this would be a golden opportunity for the city because of how vibrant it already is.

"We have a pretty unique situation here in Kearney with a pretty viable business district downtown that's vibrant, full of energy and full of businesses that give people a chance to come down here and see something different then they're going to see in the big malls," said Deterding.

Other business owners have voiced concerns however about how far the zone will reach.

A public meeting concerning the zoning proposal will be held at the Kearney City Council Chambers at noon on April 9.