KEARNEY, Neb. (KSNB) - UPDATE; Friday July 12 10:45 AM:
Traffic near Talmadge and 2nd Avenue in Kearney. (Source: Kearney Police Dept.)
After three days where traffic in the southwest part of Kearney was restricted, Kearney police Friday morning reopened Talmadge street between Second and Third Avenues.
Talmadge is now open from 2nd Ave to 3rd Ave. The public may access Phillips 66 and Subway. Access beyond 3rd is restricted for property owners, contractors, @CityofKearney crews, tow services, and Public Safety only. Do not drive around barricades. Thank you. #KearneyFlood2019 pic.twitter.com/MozDd7iuQ4— Kearney Police Dept (@KearneyPolice) July 12, 2019
Waters continue to recede in the hospitality district in Kearney. Now the city is working on a diversion project and people are trying to get to their flooded cars to see if they can save them.
Water lines can clearly be seen on cars that have been stuck in hotel parking lots for days. While people wade through water, hotel crews are mucking out their buildings.
“We're peeling all the carpet out, taking everything out, disposing of the furniture the carpet, everything,” Hotel Owner Paul Younes said.
Younes owns all the hotels on Talmadge Street and says some buildings saw as much as four feet of water. He said they called all the guests planning to come in the next 30 days and told them about the situation and that they have been very understanding.
The cost of the damage isn't known yet and they are still waiting for power to be returned to the buildings.
“Some of the property has a certain amount of insurance and we are working with our insurance people,” Younes said. “We will cover some cost but I don't know, hopefully FEMA can step in and help us with some. We do not know that yet.”
The city of Kearney is now trying to divert some of the water away from businesses and the hotels.
“We created a channel into the Turkey Creek to further aid and move more water into the creek. now that the creek has resided we're certainly using gravity and mother nature to move that water,” Assistant City Manager Eric Hellriegel said.
Pumps were brought to the area to help clear the water as well. One thing most people agree on is that this is a once in a lifetime event to happen to Kearney.
“I've been here 45 years. I haven't seen anything like it,” Younes said.
The new hotel being built to the west of the conference center was not affected by the flood waters. Younes says he was thankful they were able to evacuate the 500 guests they had at the hotels as well as the 200 employees.