KEARNEY — Some of the projects on the Town of Kearney’s long list of capital projects for 2022 got a head start last year and are nearing completion.
These projects include a $9 million indoor tennis facility at University Village, $630,000 whitewater rapids for paddlers on the Kearney Canal, and hybrid traffic lights to help cyclists and pedestrians cross safely some of the city’s busiest four-lane streets.
And then there are the projects that have just come off the drafting table. Among them are the $10 million terminal expansion and upgrade at Kearney Municipal Airport, improvements to the left turn lane and traffic lights near Meadowlark Elementary School and a $8 million water tower for northeast Kearney.
In all, there are 28 projects totaling $113 million.
This figure compares to capital projects totaling $34 million in 2021.
“It’s going to be a busy year,” said City Manager Michael Morgan, who keeps a project spreadsheet nearby so he can track the progress of each of the projects. Most are on schedule, but progress on a few has been slowed by supply chain disruptions, including the $34 million, 215,000 square foot indoor mega sports complex. It will be built in South Kearney, close to the Younes hotel complex. Some of the materials needed to build the underground infrastructure that will serve the sports complex are behind schedule.
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Of the 28 projects, 13 relate to recreation, entertainment and parks.
The park system will get a facelift with the restoration and renovation of the Harmon Park Sonotorium, three new small neighborhood parks, and the completion of the Ernest Grundy indoor tennis facility in University Village. A collaborative project involving generous donors and a city-university partnership, the tennis facility will cover 62,500 square feet, approximately one-third of the space of the indoor sports complex.
While most parks and recreation projects will improve Kearney’s quality of life, some of the most expensive projects are necessary to sustain life.
— $23 million to modernize the wastewater treatment plant;
— $10 million to modernize and expand the terminal building at Kearney Regional Airport;
— $8 million for a water tower in northeast Kearney; and,
— $250,000 for an addition to Kearney Cemetery.
Morgan said Kearney will undertake many projects in 2022, but outside funding will reduce the amount of local taxes needed for many projects. For example, of the $113 million in projects, about $53 million will come in the form of grants, federal stimulus money, CARES Act funds, federal airport assistance, and cost-sharing between local states. About half of the cost of the $34 million indoor sports complex will be paid for with state sales tax return money. Businesses located within 600 meters of the sports complex will form a special district which will charge an additional 1% sales tax to pay for half the construction cost of the sports complex.
In addition to extending water and sewer to the sports complex, the city is extending the paving of Talmadge Street to connect the hotel district and sports complex to Yanney Avenue southwest of Kearney.