The Norris Institute Board of Directors is pleased to announce the initiation of construction on the long-awaited Norris Alley open-air downtown plaza. Norris Alley will be a multi-purpose gathering space that honors McCook’s legacy as home to the late Senator George Norris.
The venue is located on the downtown bricks between two iconic McCook building landmarks – the Keystone Business Center and the historic Fox Theater on Norris Avenue. Available for general public use, the plaza can also be reserved for community events and by organizations after completion.
The Institute envisions that the space will be utilized as a public space for everything from quiet moments and small gatherings to an attractive setting for private events. These could include small outdoor concerts, theater receptions, celebrations, open-air art shows, pop-up food trucks, or outdoor movies and shows, just to name a few possibilities.
Norris Institute President Andy Long noted that Norris Alley will add to an already active downtown.
Long said, “We believe that Norris Alley will bring a new dimension to our downtown, our community and our area.”
“The activity we anticipate at the Alley will help the Institute tell the incredible story of the legacy of our own Senator George Norris,” Treasurer Mark Graff said. “The project will provide education on the accomplishments of Senator Norris – who was recognized not only by a Senate Committee as one of the most influential senators of the 20th century but was highlighted for his political courage in ‘Profiles in Courage’ by President John Kennedy.”
Graff added, “We believe the Alley will serve a role in vitalizing our downtown area, while meeting the mission of the Norris Institute.”
Sampson Construction has been contracted to lead the construction efforts for the space, which was designed by visionary architectural firm, Alley Poyner Macchietto with considerable local input. Construction is slated for completion in early fall with a goal of hosting events during the annual Heritage Days weekend in McCook.
Although funding for the project is not 100 percent complete at this time, considerable financial support for the project has been received both on the local and state fronts, allowing the Institute to break ground. Fund raising efforts will continue for the project and additional financial support can be sent to The Norris Institute, Mark Graff, Treasurer, P. O. Box 130, McCook, NE 69001-0130.