With the beginning of the New Year, city of Fort Scott staff took time in recent meetings to look back on all their accomplishments of 2016, while also considering what they hope to complete in 2017.
“We’ve just got so much going on,” City Manager Dave Martin summed up the progress made so far.
During the city commission meeting held Dec. 20, Martin shared a list of accomplishments including projects such as the Woodland Hills Golf Course clubhouse, the quiet zone at Wall Street, the National Avenue project, the almost completion of the new access road to the LaRoche Baseball Complex, the completion of the Western Senior Living downtown and the Country Place Memory Care center as well as a number of other new businesses or expansions of existing businesses.
The city has also benefited from a balanced budget, technology updates and renovations made in the water and wastewater infrastructure, which Martin pointed out is key when taking care of the city and attracting new residents and businesses.
The Fort Scott Fire Department celebrated 125 years of service, the police department investigated a murder case and got a conviction and officers completed their training as the city continues to strive to protect its citizens.
“For this year, we’ve completed a lot,” Martin said of 2016. “We can’t stop. Next year what we’re working on is development, development, development.”
Martin said in order to bring in that development, such as downtown and along the Highway 69 corridor, the city needs to take a look at taxes, since that is a common complaint for both residents and potential businesses.
“We can’t take a passive role on taxes anymore,” Martin said. “We really have to communicate, teach and get everybody to the table.”
Martin said the city hopes to cooperate with other tax entities in the county in order to understand the taxes and see if there is anything that can be done to lower them.
The city also plans to keep a line of communication open with organizations such as school districts and the county to make sure there are no duplicates in projects being done. Martin said listening to the needs and desires of Fort Scott residents is important, even when those desires may not always be met.
“With development comes change,” Martin said. “And with change comes being uncomfortable. Our role is to try to make change happen…but it is going to be at times controversial.”
Some projects for 2017 include the Highway 69 widening already underway, further renovations made to the water and wastewater systems and the completion of new facilities such as the Country Place Senior Living scheduled to open in upcoming weeks.