LINCOLN, Neb. (KMTV) — For the past several years, The Railyard in Lincoln and the bars inside the entertainment district have been packed on Husker football game days.
“Longwells is controlled madness on a typical home game, there is a crowd before, during and after the game, late night,” says Lauren Marsh, general manager of Longwells.
And for a place like Longwells, it’s been a long year. Husker football can’t come soon enough.
“It’s been a struggle since COVID. We’ve been closed for two months, we’ve lost the spring game, we’ve lost all the concerts, we’ve lost so much of the revenue that we rely on. We’re just hoping that we can do the best that we can during football,” says Marsh.
Marsh says they were ready with their game day plans, then last week, Gov. Pete Ricketts announced more restrictions, forcing people to be seated and for bars to be at half capacity.
“That’s not what any of us wanted. We’ve kinda thought that we were going to go to recommendations instead of requirements, so it was a shock,” says Marsh.
But both Longwells and those that manage the Railyard are making the required adjustments.
“It’s a little bit of a different experience than what you might have done in the Railyard,” says Katie Martin, account executive for Hurrdat, the firm that manages the Railyard.
One difference, is they’ll be tracking who’s in and outside the Railyard area very closely.
“We’ll have capacity counters, via an app that will be able to give us live-timing on capacity,” says Martin.
To ensure Husker fans have a safe place to watch the game, they’ve divvied out, special designated licenses, or SDL’s, giving them out to three different downtown spots, including the Railyard, which includes Canopy Street.
Initially the city of Lincoln is allowing for Canopy Street to have an SDL license about two-thirds of the Husker football game days.
This allows fans to spread out on to the street, and for just a lot more people to come to the area.
But on days where they don’t have the license, fans will be confined inside the walls of the Railyard. On Monday, they argued to the city of Lincoln to give them a SDL every Husker game day.
They argued during the public comment period, hoping the council can adjust the SDL licenses by the beginning of November.
“The fans want to be down in the rail yard so we want to have as much space for them as possible,” says Marsh.