Atkinson native and part-time resident, Gerard Keating, announced that his family will invest $1,000,000 to construct two buildings in downtown Atkinson for community use in memory of his parents Dolores & John Keating and brother Phillip. The investment is in addition to $1,500,000 the family invested to buy and restore 8 vacant buildings in downtown Atkinson.
The building to be built in memory of Phillip will be a three-season, 4,000 square foot, post and beam building built by Wayne, Nebraska Timberlyne (www.timberlyne.com) to be located on a 5,000 square foot lot located at 106 South Main Street. It will be branded as the Atkinson Farmers Market. The structure will include two restrooms, a wishing fountain, and fireplace.
The building will be available for community use for events promoting physical connection including weddings, receptions, reunions, and markets for fresh in season locally grown food.
The home to the Dolores & John Keating Arts Center will be a two story, 10,000 square foot building located at 201 East State Street which has been vacant for over 40 years. The historic structure was built in 1929 for use as a dealership for Chevrolet Motor Company which opened in Atkinson in 1922 and closed sometime during the Great Depression.
The arts center will host events promoting all types of art including painting, music, dance, food, and rare automobiles inspired by artistic design. The venue will also include a soda fountain inspired by the same at the original R.F. Gokie’s Variety Store located in Atkinson.
The center will include a 2,500 square foot urban flower garden and playground to be built on a vacant lot allocated adjacent to the building.
Keating announced that Atkinson resident Cheryl Elsbury Cambras has been hired to guide construction and programming.
Both buildings are under construction with a formal public welcome ground breaking for the Atkinson Farmers Market to be held Saturday, May 28 at 10:30 a.m. with an open house at the arts center on the same day at 11 a.m.–1 p.m. The Farmers Market will be completed and dedicated at noon on Phillip’s birthday on Sunday, October 16, 2022. The Art’s Center will be completed and dedicated at noon on Sunday, March 19, 2023.
Keating said that he is proud that his family has maintained a presence in Atkinson since his great grandfather, Frank, arrived in Atkinson in January 1907 and that this investment is a small thank you to a great community which showed much kindness to his parents and brother over the course of their long, full lives.
The buildings will be owned and managed by Keating Family Foundation which Keating created to help small towns in rural America grow through capitalism, leveraging technology and art.
Keating Resources is owned by Gerard and Alec Keating. The company invests in real estate in Florida, Texas, South Dakota, and Nebraska and has offices in Atkinson, Nebraska, and Dallas, Texas.