Western Nebraska Observer - Observations all along the line - Kimball & the Southern Panhandle First

By Jacob Misener

High Point Welcome Center to open in Kimball no later than July 4


In a crucial step for the continued economic development of Kimball and the western Nebraska region, as a whole, the High Point Welcome Center for Western Nebraska is set to open no later than July 4.

“This building was chosen because of its location and our demographic,” said Caskey. “The majority of our visitors come from the Front Range, which means they’re coming west to east.”

Caskey went on to say that with the building located to the right of the eastbound highway lanes, studies show that drivers are much more likely to pull off and stop, as opposed to using a building located on the left side of the eastbound lanes.

In addition to displays featuring regional tourist attractions, Caskey is adamant that the facility offers what travelers may need on trips, including a wi-fi hotspot, cold beverages and charging stations for laptops and cell phones.

“It’s our goal to service the entire western part of the state. We’ll be the first welcome center until Sidney at mile marker 59,” said Caskey.

Last week, the County Commissioners approved the lease for the former home of Burger King and Longhorn Steakhouse, just south of Interstate 80 near Kimball. Since that happened, no time has been wasted in getting the process of readying the property for its new role.”

“Our sign requests have gone in,” said Jo Caskey, Tourism Director for the Kimball County Visitors Committee. “We’ll have the blue sign with the white question mark both east and west, and we’ll have directional signs at the end of the ramp.”

Within the next month, a team of six young adults from AmeriCorps will be in the area to help with renovating both the exterior and interior of the property, as well as assist with projects headed by Keep Kimball Beautiful.

Once the facility opens, Caskey is relying on partnerships with local businesses to help ensure its sustained success.

“I’ve talked to Carol’s Nut List about getting some of her nuts and candies in here,” said Caskey. “I’ve talked to M&M Embroidery about hats, sweatshirts and that type of thing. I’ve also talked to the bakery about taking their day-old donuts.”

The facility will also have a conference room that is available for rental, as well as full kitchen facilities that could be utilized for events such as all-day workshops.

Despite the fact that the building is outfitted with a full kitchen, Caskey immediately dismissed the concept of running a restaurant out of the space, as well as subleasing the space to an outside business.

“I will not be a restaurant,” said Caskey. “I will not compete with my own businesses. That’s just a cardinal sin in my business. You don’t compete with your own businesses.”

All Tourism office space will be relocated from its current location in the Chamber of Commerce on Chestnut Street to the Welcome Center in the coming weeks, as well, in anticipation of the official opening next month.

“Human contact. The hospitality industry is based on people connections. You have to have staff and volunteers working here who are passionate about where they live, here in the western part of the state.


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