Community members interested in downtown Fort Scott meet throughout the year to talk about downtown issues at the Quarterly Downtown Meet and Greet.
On July 2, the meet and greet was hosted by La Hacienda Restaurant and sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce, with the City of Fort personnel and attendees giving updates on happenings.
Mirna and Jose Santana, owners of La Hacienda, thanked the attendees for supporting the restaurant for the nine years they have been in Fort Scott.
“We try to do our best,” Mirna said.
Chamber Executive Director Lindsay Madison led the meeting.
Madison talked about the First Impressions program that Kansas State Research and Extension provides to improve a community’s image and quality of life for its’ citizens.
Fort Scott was visited this last winter by a K-State First Impressions visitation team and presented the public with a “snapshot of what they observed,” Madison said, which she had copies of and handed out to attendees.
She highlighted some of the findings.
“Go out and look at the front of your business,” Madison said. “Are the windows clean? What types of things are in the window? Make sure they are welcoming and inviting.”
“Offer something to make you stand out,” she encouraged the business owners.
The findings discouraged using detering signs such as “no public restroom'” “don’t touch”, etc., she said.
Cross marketing each other was encouraged.
“When they ask if you have something, say ‘no, but so and so down the street has it,'” Madison said.
Another issue is vacant buildings noticed by the K-State group.
“We’ve made huge progress in the last few years, but we still have some vacant buildings,” Madison said and invited sharing of ideas for potential businesses be given to her.
Market assistance is offered by the Chamber, one on one, Madison said. She encouraged a web presence, Google business listings ,a free Google website, and a good business profile on fortscott.com.
- Marmaton Massacre Mountain Bike Championship is July 13-14 at Gunn Park and businesses are encourage to get their items by July 9 to the Chamber of Commerce for the 100 swag bags that will be distributed to participants. Volunteers are needed with no race experience necessary. There will be a public concert in a “beautiful setting,” Madison said.
- August 2-4 there will be a sales tax holiday by some of the local businesses.
- July 17 a workshop “Get Productive with Google’s Digital Tools” from 11 a.m. to noon at the Lowell Milken Center. Sign up on fortscott.com.
- Grants are available for painting facades of downtown businesses, for up to $500 from Steve Buerge.
- July 19 will be a downtown movie night on Skubitz Plaza, featuring Sgt. Stubby, August 16 the movie featured will be Beauty and the Beast.
- Hedgehog INK, a local bookstore, is hosting a writing festival on October 19.
- The second Art in the Yard Festival will be Sept. 14 with more vendors and is free. Contact Bobbie Kemna at 224-7480.
- Fort Scott Paws and Claws Animal Shelter sells pet food and pet supplies and is located downtown. There will be fundraiserfor Paws and Claws at the Boiler Room Brewhaus July 27 at 7 p.m. featuring the Wayward Bettys, with $10 tickets available at the Chamber office, the animal shelter and Kate Sweetser.
- Bid and Dibs owner, Angie Simon, asked for ideas for increasing sales for retailers in June. “June is terrible for retailers,” Simon said.
- The Union Block renovation is underway and will produce 25 market value apartments when complete.
- The Stout Building demolition started on July 1.
- Mid-Continental Restoration is restoring the storefront at Wall Street and National Avenue.
- Lori Lovelace is opening a laundry mat business on National Avenue which will include clothes alterations and a clothing pantry.
- Peerless Products is opening a warehouse space in Nevada, MO, “But it won’t impact Fort Scott at all,” Fort Scott Economic Director Rachel Pruitt, told attendees.
- Community Health Center of Southeast Kansas will build a health care facility on six acres on Horton, west of the present Mercy Building, Fort Scott City Manager Dave Martin said.
- Via Christi is looking at the land on the east side of the property of the former Mercy Hospital for a future emergency department option, Martin said.
- The city and Bourbon County’s public works departments are beginning to “work with each other,” Martin said.
- July 26 at Crooner’s Lounge, Flagship Romance will be performing.
- July 4 at the Fort Scott National Historic Site there will be a full day of activities including an ice cream social by the Friends of the Fort at noon.
- The annual naturalizaiton ceremony will be Sept. 20 at the Fort.
- Riverfront Park Authority has purchased and will be installing lighting for the trail soon.
- July 4, there will be a Burke Street Parade with refreshments following at Nate and Bailey Lyons home on Burke Street and Shane Walker providing hot dogs.
- Fort Scott Street Department employee Chad Brown is working on a plan to repair brick streets in the city, Martin said.
- The city has a group working on National Avenue renovation, Martin said.
- Westar Energy is completing a merger with Kansas City Power and Light and will become Evergy in October 2019.
- Craw-Kan Telephone Cooperative will begin fiber optic installation on Fort Scott’s east side next year.
- The tiny houses project north of Hwy. 54, has all the monthly rentals rented and are currently working on the Airbnb segment.
- Mark Calvin, a new New York Life Insurance Company agent, introduced himself to attendees.