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Work to begin on Kearney's Whitewater Park; ready for users in spring 2022
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Work to begin on Kearney's Whitewater Park; ready for users in spring 2022

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In order to create artificial rapids to challenge kayakers and canoeists, there must be a spot where the water level drops abruptly. When the whitewater project is complete, there will be a pair of drop structures in the canal near Kearney Cinema 8. That section flows beneath Second Avenue in south Kearney, so motorists will get a glimpse of the action as paddlers negotiate the rapids.

KEARNEY — A Colorado company has emerged as the low bidder for the Whitewater Park planned in south Kearney.

Whinnery Construction of Lake City, Colorado, is the winning bidder at $583,918. Blessing Construction of Kearney was the only other bidder. Blessing’s bid was $1,221,150.

According to a memo to the City Council from Park and Recreation Director Scott Hayden, Whinnery Construction will begin work on the whitewater park in November, after water has been drained from the canal and the Kearney Water Trail is dry enough for work to commence.

The whitewater park will be ready for kayakers and canoeists in spring 2022.

The whitewater park will be close to Cinema 8 and Second Avenue, so passing motorists will be able to see the action on the canal beneath the street, which serves as Kearney’s front door.

The park will include two sets of rapids — or “drop structures” that will create whitewater for recreational and more experienced paddlers.

One of the structures will be just west of Second Avenue and the other just east of Second Avenue.

“In addition, substantial shoreline improvements and beautification will be included. The city of Kearney has worked with the Kearney Whitewater Association to make this project possible, and S2O Design, from Lyons, Colorado, is the engineering firm for this project,” Hayden told the council.

KWA has raised $250,000 through donations and grants. Hayden said the city is committing $400,000, including $300,000 in sales tax money and $100,000 in CARES Act federal stimulus funds.

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