Chamber addresses community concerns, members learn history of FSPD

At this morning’s chamber coffee, those in attendance were greeted with the meticulously-kept bays of the Fort Scott Fire Department. The Fort Scott Police Department hosted the meeting, and sounds of laughter and jovial conversation rang throughout the room.


Barbara Albright, member of the Chamber Board, welcomed attendees and asked for new Chamber of Commerce members or visitors to step forward. Common Ground coffee shop announced the hiring of a new manager, Tyler Hazen. Everyone in attendance seemed excited about the presence of the coffee shop in the community. Let’s face it–not many of us do well without our daily cup of joe!

Albright started the weekly “Dollars for Dolly,” in which members of the Chamber of Commerce may step forward and make announcements related to their businesses or the community by donating a dollar to the Chamber. Macy Cullison, City Economic Development Director, announced the opening of the Aquatic Center on Monday, May 27th. Cullison remarked, “We have a great staff of supervisors and lifeguards.”

City Manager David Martin and County Commissioner Barbara Albright next addressed a concern from the community that truckers traveling through the area cannot find places to eat early in the morning/late at night. Albright assured everyone that the Chamber considers informing local hospitality businesses and convenience stores of the needs of visitors an ongoing responsibility.

Martin also remarked that when he first accepted the position of City Manager, he was told that the police might not get along with the community, and that the police and fire departments might not get along. However, Martin said that both departments have proven that statement incorrect. Of the good rapport between the police department and the community, Martin said, “I have two chiefs that believe that [police and community can remain on good terms] from the bottom of their hearts” and that the police chief and staff have “citizens at their heart.”

Following this discussion, Chief Travis Shelton presented a short history of the Fort Scott Police Department. According to Shelton, Kathy West had the idea to collect and compile old photos of the Police Department to preserve its history. Shelton presented a few photos via projector and encouraged those in the community who held such photos to consider letting the department scan them and keep copies. Shelton presented a few interesting facts about the department’s past:

  • 1860–Fort Scott had only one town marshall
  • 1873–The department held a municipal ball to raise money to buy uniforms for police officers
  • 1878–James Eggleston was appointed as the first African-American police officer on the force

Other announcements:

  • The Aquatic Center has received a generous donation that has enabled the pool to offer season passes to lower-income families
  • Food 4 Summer program to be hosted at Buck Run Community Center. Volunteers needed to deliver food.
  • Terri Coop has formed the Bourbon County Long-term Recovery Committee in order to promote recovery in lower-income areas of the city. This program allows contractors to drop off leftover building/roofing materials north of town at the former site of Midwest Trucking.
  • Gary Palmer announced the ongoing photo exhibit “A Day in the Life of Fort Scott’s Working World” at Fort Scott Community College. The exhibit is located in the Ellis Family Fine Arts Center and according to Palmer, displays 31 photos. The project was funded by a grant written by Jill Warford of the Gordon Parks Center at FSCC.
  • Life + Style will present their “We Love Local Sale” May 28th-31st. The sale will include 20% off bake ware, pots and pans.

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