Local Kiwanis plan to improve iconic landmark
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One of Manhattan’s best-known landmarks will be more accessible to people of all abilities and age after the local Kiwanis chapter installs an observation deck above the Manhattan sign on Bluemont Hill. Kiwanis member Kent Foster said the club got the idea for the project after brainstorming ways to commemorate their upcoming hundredth anniversary in 2022. The proposed observation deck has been in consideration for roughly a year now.
“It gets a lot of activity, and I think it will be a useful project,” said Foster. Foster said the park sees as many as 50 visitors per day when the weather permits. The slope and landscape make the area dangerous for people with physical disabilities, and Foster said the goal is to make sure everyone can enjoy the view.
The Manhattan Kiwanis installed the prolific white, concrete letters in 1927 — just five years after their inception as a chapter. The Kiwanis still take pride in whitewashing and maintaining the letters, according to Foster. Foster reminisced about repainting the sign after University of Nebraska fans painted over the letters with a giant letter “N” at the height of their rivalry with Kansas State University.
Bluemont Hill has been plastered on the pages of local pamphlets and magazines about the community, but treasurer Rod Kalivoda said he would like to see more people actually visit the overlook.
“It greets visitors when they come to town, it’s kind of a landmark,” Kalivoda said. “Right now it’s kind of underused. I’d like to see more people.”
Foster said the project could cost anywhere between $40,000 and $60,000. The project will not start until all fundraising has been completed. The Kiwanis kick started the project with $7,500. Meritrust Credit Union pledged to be one of three corporate sponsors by matching the Kiwanis donation. Foster said they are still seeking other partnerships.
page has been set up to help raise money.
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Source: KMAN Local News