Chairman: Archway Has Seen Many Financial Struggles

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The Great Platte River Road Archway has filed for bankruptcy protection to allow them to reorganize their finances.

Thousands of vehicles travel on I-80 under the Archway everyday near Kearney, and on the inside a great historical story is told using state of the art equipment and scenes.

"It's a great history piece for Nebraska and surrounding states," said Kearney Resident Julie Knaggs.

It's the financial future that concerns folks which led to the Chapter 11 Bankruptcy filing on Wednesday.

"The aim here is that the judge will probably make a token payment to the bond holders and they would go away and then we would be functioning on our own," said Chairman of the Board Joel Johnson.

The Archway has battled financially for years. Early on, attendance numbers were over estimated, making it tough to pay bills when the real number of visitors came through the doors.

"As early as 2002 consideration was being made for filing for bankruptcy that long ago," said Johnson.

In 2002 an agreement was made to reduce the initial bond debt of $60-million to $22-million, to be repaid by 2013.

It has made little progress in repaying that amount.

Nearby neighbor Julie Knaggs says in the past, the lack of an Interstate exit at the Archway has led to the low number of visitors.

"Because you have to go a mile passed it and then come back a mile so it hurts," said Knaggs.

Meanwhile, Johnson says he's hoping the bankruptcy restructuring and a new exit, that's currently being built, will give the Archway a brighter future.