I mentioned in last week’s column that the list of local men and women who have made a heroic commitment of time, talent and treasure in Fort Scott could go on, and this week it will. This list, combined with the first, will certainly not be exhaustive, but here are some more recent investments by Bourbon County residents that have made us a better place to live and work:
State Farm Insurance/law firm. This significant investment at the intersection of South National and South Main dramatically improved a building that is highly visible by people traveling through Bourbon County on 69 Highway.
Bourbon County Cars. Another building at that same intersection was recently repurposed by local families, and has become a thriving business that creates significant tax revenue for Bourbon County.
Crooners/Liberty Theatre. An important Fort Scott historical district building was renovated and put to great use. Great restaurant and nice event venue.
Bartelsmeyer Jewelry. This family purchased a building on North Main near the National Historic Site and created a great place for locals and tourists to shop. Additionally, as was intended by these structures when built, they live above their store.
Edward Jones/Armstrong. This strip center on South National houses some popular tenants, and represents a significant financial risk to the local residents who took it on a few years ago.
Sunshine Boutique. This family business at Wall Street and Main Street has been popular for a long time, and they recently expanded their investment at that location, adding to their store, along with space for another tenant.
Smallville. This couple bought the lumber yard on 19th Street and expanded the fitness options for locals, assuming a significant financial and construction risk. They put in much sweat equity (pun intended) as well.
What kind of investments in Bourbon County are good opportunities going forward? Besides pursuing your own business passion, rental housing represents a high need with relatively low risk. We have a dearth of good quality rental homes in Bourbon County, and demand is strong. Rent usually covers all monthly costs with a reasonable return on investment. We need local heroines and heroes to step up on housing; not as slumlords, but as men and women who understand that they have a responsibility to our community as well. Investors must turn a profit, but we have to think beyond ourselves as well if rural communities are to survive and thrive.
I am so glad I live and work in a community where so many people think beyond raw profit and want to make local investments that will create a legacy. Bourbon County REDI is committed to uncovering and supporting future local heroines and heroes.