- Associated Press - Saturday, January 3, 2015

KEARNEY, Neb. (AP) - The Archway saw more than 50,000 visitors in 2014 - the most the monument spanning Interstate 80 at Kearney has seen in three years.

Attendance figures show that 50,457 visited the attraction last year, a 1 percent increase from 2013, the Kearney Hub reported (http://bit.ly/14kA6h8 ). The Archway had also brought in $693,343 in revenue for 2014, an increase of nearly 26 percent from 2013.

The Archway hosted its 50,000th visitor of the year on Dec. 26, marketing coordinator Jace Robinson said.

“It’s been a phenomenal year for The Archway,” Robinson said. “And the thing that isn’t represented in our attendance number is the thousands of local people that have attended one of the many community events throughout the year.”

The higher numbers come after a year of transition for the monument. The attraction closed for two months at the beginning of 2014 to focus on rebranding after filing for bankruptcy in late 2013 and later settled its debt of more than $20 million.

Archway staff took steps to reduce overhead costs and increase focus on community engagement, Robinson said. Some structural changes were also made, including eliminating a full-time director and having the city perform in-kind maintenance services.

Recently, the attraction also closed its concession area and moved it to the gift shop, which allows one staff member to cover both areas at once, Robinson said.

Nearly 250,000 people visited the monument the year after it opened in 2001, but attendance had dropped steadily after that to a low of 49,960 in 2013.

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Information from: Kearney Hub, http://www.kearneyhub.com/

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