On Friday, March 3rd, the Leadership Kearney's Alumni Committee held their second State of the City event at the North Younes Conference Center - Crowne Plaza building. The event featured updates from the City of Kearney, Mayor Stan Clouse, and Kearney Family YMCA CEO Ray Longoria.
Longoria took over as the Kearney Area Family YMCA leader in 2020. He has been with the organization since 2010 and started as the Program Manager. In 2012, he was promoted to Program Director. He was promoted again five years later, in 2017, to the Senior Program Director. Longoria was a part of Leadership Kearney Class 22.
Longoria showcased pictures from the Kearney Family YMCA expansion project. The 20,000-square-foot addition will feature a new fitness center, a main entrance, a Learning Garden, and Cafe Corner gathering area. Classrooms and after-school areas with be created upstairs. Longoria expressed excitement as he talked about all the new features that will be available to members. With the addition of the Learning Kitchen, Longoria shared about the importance of teaching healthy habits and is happy to provide a space where people can prepare food and learn to cook.
Mayor Clouse is a native of Brady and attended Mid-Plains Community College and Kearney State College and has been employed as an account manager for Nebraska Public Power District since 1978. In 2003, he was elected to the Kearney City Council and, in 2006, was voted by his fellow council members to serve as the mayor of Kearney. He is involved in many different organizations in Kearney and across the State. Clouse was a member of Leadership Kearney Class 7.
Clouse shared the City of Kearney's Economic Indicators from 2016 to 2022 and the City of Kearney's Proposed Property Tax Request. He then broke down how the City is funded and walked through the breakdown of property taxes. The City of Kearney only receives 8.13% of property tax dollars. Their primary funding comes from sales tax, which Kearney has seen a 30% increase in from 2018 to 2022. One of the many attributes the City prides itself on is that for 2022 Kearney continues to be the lowest property tax levy for Nebraska's first-class cities.
Additional updates were given on the Kearney Indoor Sports Complex and Compute North and the announcement of Kearney's Sesquicentennial Anniversary celebration. Two thousand twenty-three marks 150 years for this fantastic community, a milestone that will be celebrated throughout the year. The Kearney Police Department will celebrate this milestone with a commemorative police badge.
Kearney continues to be a growing community. In 2022 the City worked on many projects like the Ernest Grundy Tennis Center opening, the Kearney Canal Whitewater Trail, and the Harmon Park Sonotorium renovation/Pool Bath House/lighting. The City also completed many street projects. These are just a few of the projects that were listed in addition to others. Clouse touched base on upcoming projects that the City continues to work on. Clouse's presentation can be downloaded via the link available below.
Leadership Kearney thanks all who were able to attend this morning's event, as well as Younes Hospitality, for providing meeting space. We will continue to provide events for our Alumni and the community, so be on the lookout for our next event by following us on social media.