KEARNEY — Kearney Amphitheater will have a new face by the beginning of the 2020 season, Assistant Park Director Ryan Marcotte said.

Without a formal entryway, Park Director Eric Marshall said an archway was a high priority for the Parks Department.

“There isn’t really an entrance at all,” Marshall said. “With this new archway, we will have an actual sign that is lit to depict the amphitheater.”

A bid was approved by aldermen during their Monday, Oct. 21, meeting for a total cost of $74,356.63, which will cover the archway and concrete work leading into the amphitheater in Jesse James Park.

Additionally, outside of the bid, the city of Kearney will purchase a shelter to be located overhead where guests enter the area to have their tickets scanned. This purchase will cost an additional $22,000.

The original request for services was altered, Marshall added, to exclude a ticket booth because it alone would have cost about another $20,000.

Most tickets are sold online and a few at City Hall, aldermen were told, so the ticket booth isn’t a priority at this time.

Marshall said the archway is an asset beyond just marking where the entrance is. Along the sides the city can attach posters and advertisements, and the lighting will help people see their way to their vehicles after shows.

“The pavilion also will be lit,” Marshall said.

He explained the scope of the project will include electrical work underground, erecting the archway, installing the shelter and pouring concrete leading into the area, which will be more visually appealing and easier for those in wheelchairs, using walkers or having a more difficult time walking than others.

“We are also adding fence work,” Marshall said. “It will open inward instead of outward leading into the sheltered area.”

This, he explained, will direct everyone who enters to the same ticket scanning area, creating a “much more” organized flow. After tickets are scanned, guests are free to find a place to sit or head toward concessions.

“Construction can get dicey with weather,” Marcotte explained, unable to pin when construction will begin, “but we will write it into the contract to be complete by the start of the 2020 season.”

Northwest Editor Sean Roberts can be reached at or 389-6606.

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