Sprucing Up Downtown

The Fort Scott Chamber of Commerce Downtown Committee 2021. Submitted photo. From left: Bailey Lyons, John Crain, Rachel French, and Angela Simon.

All participants will receive a free t-shirt, courtesy of MyOneStop. Sponsors of the event will be listed on the back of the t-shirt.

With the new calendar year also came new membership for the Fort Scott Downtown Chamber Committee.

Committee members are now Bailey Lyons, chairwoman, and owner of Lyons Realty Group; John Crain, owner of Crane Insurance Agency; Angela Simon, owner of Bids and Dibs and Angie Dawn’s Boutique; and Rachel French of W/K Holdings Company.

Each member of the Downtown Committee is also a Board Member of the local chamber of commerce.  

In February, during their first meeting of the year, the committee wasted no time in getting to work! They decided to change their 2021 focus and take the committee in a new direction – one that they hope the community will find exciting!

Chairwoman Bailey Lyons shared the board’s thoughts behind this change of focus. “In the past, this committee has mainly helped with retail promo events downtown, but Lindsay Madison and Rita Schroeder of the Chamber are now handling those,” Lyons said.  She explained that since Madison and Schroder have done such a good job in this area, it makes sense for the 2021 Downtown Committee to choose a different focus.“We are trying to redirect our efforts on tangible projects that will make a positive impact, while continuing to support the retail efforts.” she said.


The first new thing to come of this committee is a plan to host a downtown clean-up day periodically, the first of which is slated to take place on Friday, April 16th starting at 3:00.

The group has identified many projects which they plan to tackle, such as re-striping the parking spaces, implementing “artistic crosswalks”, cleaning off and repainting benches and trashcans, clearing parking lots and sidewalks of dirt and debris, washing windows in vacant buildings, and much more.

In addition to this list, they are open to suggestions from the community, so if you have an idea of something that would make the downtown area more esthetically appealing, please share that idea with Bailey Lyons as soon as possible, as she is organizing for labor and materials. Lyons can be reached via call or text at 620.224.7795. 

The downtown committee welcomes and encourages volunteer laborers for the  April 16th Spring Clean.

They intentionally scheduled the event at the end of the workweek in hopes that area employers – especially those with a presence downtown – would allow some of their employees to participate in the event as community service.

Lyons says to let her know if you, or your organization, would like to help with these efforts, so that she can plan enough projects to keep everyone busy, and enough materials to get the job done. 

She said that she and her fellow committee members “have lofty goals for this event, but are hopeful the old adage ‘many hands make light work’ will play out and everyone’s collective efforts will produce an immediate visible change in the historic downtown area.”


The second new item to come from the downtown committee is a plan to adopt a project which they will focus their attention on each year.

The project they have identified for 2021 is the improvement of the downtown Christmas decor, and as such, this group will be fundraising to purchase new Christmas decorations for the downtown area. 

When asked why they identified this as their goal for the year, Lyons said “The current decorations have been used for more than 30 years and community members have asked for enhancement in this area. The committee feels this is a project that we can tackle to improve community esthetics and morale, and one that will impact both locals and visitors.”

They plan to purchase 8’ LED toy soldiers to hang on the light posts – a fitting nod to the historic Fort located just North of downtown. The soldiers will add extra beauty during the holiday season, while also paying tribute to our town’s great history. The committee is asking for help in these efforts to make the Fort Scott downtown more festive. The cost to purchase one 8′ toy soldier silhouette is $400.

You may “adopt” (purchase) an LED toy soldier on your own, with a group of friends or family, or through a workplace or organization. Lyons explained that “in appreciation for contributions, those who have purchased a toy soldier silhouette will be recognized when the decorations are put up each year”. If you’re not able to cover the full cost of a toy soldier, but simply want to donate to the cause, the committee says that is also welcomed with gratitude. Every bit will help update and replace the current dilapidated Christmas decorations.

A photo of the soldier lights. Submitted photo.

You can view these new Christmas decorations or donate to “adopt a soldier,” by visiting the new website that the committee put together to share information: https://fstoysoldier.wixsite.com/home.

You can also contact any downtown committee member (Bailey, John, Angie, Rachel), or the Chamber of Commerce, to make your tax-deductible donation. 

The committee has additional plans in motion to host a fundraising event in mid-September that will further support these efforts; more details will come on that at a later date. The proceeds of the event will go to the new decorations.

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