Potential entertainment center bringing go-karts to Norfolk
NORFOLK -- Last week, Americarts Nebraska wrapped up a poll about a potential complex of entertainment coming to northeast Nebraska.
Ninety-four percent of survey respondents showed Norfolk was in favor of Americarts Nebraska creating a center with electric go-karts, an inflatable park, arcade games, a restaurant, and a roller rink. The roller rink was added to the vision after Norfolk respondents emphasized how much they wanted it.
"The go-karts will go roughly 40 miles an hour so it feels like 90 when you're sitting six inches off the ground," said Robert Johnson, president of Americarts Nebraska. He grew up in the area (graduating from Madison in 1990) and has wanted to bring go-karts to Norfolk since 2003.
"The closest multilevel track is in Dallas, Texas, so there's nothing like what we're going to bring to Norfolk anywhere in the Midwest," Johnson said.
An often overlooked aspect of any development is accessibility -- but this is a huge priority for the two.
"Not just ADA compliance, but making sure our attractions are available for anyone including those with disabilities," said Stephanie Goodrich, director of inclusive workforce & communities.
For example, their climate-controlled go-karts could have not only pedal function, but for those with leg paralysis, there would be hand operation. There will be calm-down rooms, too. Americarts is also choosing video games that can lower sounds and lights for those with sensory triggers.
Finally, they work with a team of therapists and technology experts to learn more accessibility tips; particularly because Johnson's son has autism.
The two met with Norfolk City officials including the city administrator and engineer for pre-planning, Wednesday.
Johnson emphasized that she wants this to be for the community and not to benefit from the community. Ergo, she asks art designers and roller derby players to reach out with their requests.
"Assuming that the stars align, we hope to have financing and property by summer," Goodrich said. That should set them up for a soft 2023 opening.