KEARNEY — Splash pads and playgrounds will re-open at city parks June 8, but swimming pools will remain closed until further notice.
City Hall will re-open June 8.
The Kearney Public Library will re-open June 15.
Fireworks can be sold and fired off between June 28-July 4.
Those changes and more were announced in a press conference Thursday at City Hall as the city slowly begins to re-open its buildings, facilities and more as the COVID-19 pandemic begins to slow.
City Manager Michael Morgan called the pandemic “one of the biggest challenges in recent history,” but praised city employees and citizens for their patience and cooperation. He said their response, including social distancing and compliance with statewide directed health measures “have made a huge difference.”
Detailed information can be found on the city's website, but here are highlights:
- Finance: The public is encouraged to pay utility bills online, by mail, by phone at 888-244-2312 or at the drop box behind City Hall at 18 E. 22nd St. For a one-time fee of $10, the public can download a Utilities Bank Collection Authorization Form. Customers will get a $1 monthly credit if they sign up to receive their bills electronically. See website for details.
The city temporarily suspended utility disconnections for nonpayment of utility bills beginning in March, but this will end June 1. To set up a plan to pay any balance that is in arrears, call 308-233-3221 or 308-233-3240.
- Kearney Regional Airport: Jim Lynaugh, manager, said SkyWest is operating one flight each day to Denver, leaving here at 9:10 a.m. and arriving in Denver at 9:30 a.m. (MST) with a stop in North Platte. Passengers must wear masks. The airline will provide them if necessary.
- Parks and recreation: Scott Hayden, director, said restrooms at parks will re-open June 1. Restroom cleaning will take place 7-9 a.m. each day. Park water fountains will remain shut off.
At Cottonmill Park, only restrooms at the marina and the lodge will open. The Cottonmill Nature Barn will reopen June 13.
Meadowlark Hills Golf Course will reopen June 8. Among other changes, cups will be raised so flag removal is not needed at each hole. Clubhouse limitations will be in place, and only credit card/debit card payment will be accepted there.
Pools, the Cottonmill Swim Lake and marina will remain closed until further notice.
As for sports, only adult softball, tennis and archery will resume June 8. Other sports may begin a bit later.
- The Peterson Senior Activity Center will resume take-out-only lunches June 8. A few limited activities will get underway in coming weeks; details will be announced.
- Kearney Public Library: curbside pick-up resumes Tuesday. Patrons can place a hold on books via phone (308-233-3282) or the library website. Books can be picked up between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. Monday through Thursday. For instructions on curbsite pick-up, refer to the city website
Late fees are suspended. Returns must be placed in the book drop behind the library, which re-opened May 26. Books will be quarantined for 72 hours before being returned to the shelf.
- Utilities Director Tony Jelinek said residential and commercial meter change-outs will resume June 8, as will water system maintenance and repairs. Employees will wear personal protective equipment.
- Development Services Director Brenda Jensen said the public must apply for building permits online. For assistance, call a permit tech at 308-233-3234. Building inspections will be completed by real-time video chat and/or pictures if possible.
- Planning commission: the meeting at 9 a.m. June 19 will be a virtual meeting, according to Planning Director Wendell Wessels. Documents should be submitted online to him. Paper submittals will return when the office re-opens.
- City Clerk Lauren Brandt said all public meetings will continue virtually through at least June 30.
She also said that special designated licenses are being reviewed, but the Nebraska Liquor Control Commission has said that outdoor movies and events where attendees would consume alcohol in their parked vehicle are not allowed.
- Fire Administrator Jason Whalen said burn permits can be obtained from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m weekdays. Tours of the fire department and truck visits remain suspended. A call-screening procedure is being used for non-emergency calls.
- Fireworks: Fireworks can be discharged 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. June 27 through July 2, and 8 a.m. to midnight July 3 and 4.
Pick up 2020 Fireworks Permit Applications at Fire Station #1 on Avenue A. They must be returned by June 18.
Firework stands will be inspected 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. June 26. Inspections will be done on a first-come, first-serve basis. To schedule an inspection, call 308- 233-3226 prior to June 24.
- Law Enforcement Center is open 8 a.m. to noon weekdays. Officers are using telephone reporting for calls that do not require an immediate police response. 911 Communications Staff use a call screening procedure to determine if the caller, or anyone in the household, has COVID-19 symptoms. For more information, see cityofkearney.org.