KEARNEY — The Kearney City Council has approved the necessary zoning and land use plans so the Minnesota-based Compute North can build its $7.65 million data center at Tech oNE Crossing.
The city will be selling five acres in the northeast Kearney tech park to Compute North for $75,000, and the Nebraska Public Power District will build a substation to provide energy for the data center, which is expected to become one of NPPD’s top electrical consumers in Kearney. Tech oNE Crossing is located at the southeast corner of 56th Street and Antelope Avenue.
To operate and cool its facility, Compute North will need as much as 20 megawatts at any given time.
Because NPPD leases the city’s electrical lines to deliver its electricity, it’s anticipated that bringing Compute North online will boost the $6.4 million in annual lease payments NPPD makes to the city of Kearney by about $528,000.
Compute North will become the third business in Tech oNE Crossing, which currently has the Xpanxion Executive Briefing Center and the 53-acre SoCore solar farm.
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In addition to clearing the way for the next high-tech company to set up shop in Kearney, the City Council heard a flood recovery update from City Manager Michael Morgan, who said the Environmental Resource Center Building at Yanney is expected to reopen in mid-August.
The ERC Building sustained major water damage in the July 9 flood.
Morgan said a small pedestrian bridge on the hike-bike trail east of The Archway was destroyed. Park and Rec Director Scott Hayden said floodwaters undercut the trail at several places, destroying the paved surface and the berm on which the trail was built. Flooding also destroyed a portion of Archway Parkway, the street that leads from the west to the attraction. There still is access to The Archway from the Interstate 80 exit one mile east of the attraction.
Morgan also reported that United Express boarded its 10,000th passenger in July, entitling the Kearney Regional Airport to receive $1 million in airport improvement funds from the Federal Aviation Administration. Morgan said that so far in July 2,101 passengers have boarded United Express flights, contributing to the airline’s 75 percent load factor.
Passenger volume is so high, Morgan said, that new baggage handling equipment is being installed in the airport terminal and the 20 stalls added in the parking lot now are filled, creating the need for additional parking.