By Terry Bailey

The Solomon Valley Economic Development group held their monthly meeting on June 16th in the Conference Room at the North Central Kansas Regional Planning Commission headquarters. Twelve members were in attendance. President Curt Frazier called the meeting to order promptly at 12:30 p.m.
Lydia Becker reported that the 8'x16' Welcome to Mitchell County sign just south of Hunter on Kansas Highway 181 had been virtually destroyed by a recent windstorm. Estimates from the Thomas Family sign company in Manhattan were right at $3,000 to have the sign repaired or replaced
This sparked a discussion of how many Welcome to Mitchell County signs were ideal and where should these signs be placed. The question was asked regarding how many tourists enter Mitchell County coming from the south on Highway 181. Curt Frazier observed that the organization was spending/investing money much faster than it was coming in. There are seven Welcome signs on the entry points to our County. No definite decision was made on how best to proceed.
Economic Development director Emily Benedick reported that the first Mitchell County mural located at the Tipton Grocery building is almost completed. The site of the next mural will be at the Mitchell County Museum building followed by the Waconda Trader building. Benedick also gave the group an update on the possible solutions to the childcare provider shortage in Mitchell County.
Benedick gave the members a review of the renovations to the Sperry Building. This structure is also known as the Old Duckwall's building to some residents. The building was purchased for $21,000. Renovations, roof replacement, architectural fees, and environmental reviews and other necessary expenses have totaled $34,938 making the total investment in the building at $55,938.
Discussion of the sale of three vacant lots near the Hartman Storage location was conducted. It was hoped that a sale of these lots could be achieved in the near future.
Lucille Heller noted that the 8 Man All Star Football games brought a lot of people to Beloit. She said it was very hard to find a place to eat Friday night because of the visitors in town. Additionally, she said there were no vacant hotel room in Beloit and many people had to stay in Concordia or other places.
Everyone agreed that many other towns would like to have the All-Star game in their towns but year after year, Beloit does an excellent job of hosting the affair.
Hannah Bowers, the new Director of the Beloit Area Chamber of Commerce, said the pep rally in the Chautauqua Park went over very well. She estimated about 200 people attended the Friday Night Lights activities at the Technical College. In spite of the heat, the stands were crowded for both of the All-Star Football games on Saturday. She placed the size of the crowed at about 500 people.
Hannah said there was talk of conducting some summer school classes in the Little Red School house. The Farmer's Market is up and running. It is located near the Little Red School House.
The Lakefest activities scheduled for July 2nd are coming together in good form. There will be activities going on throughout the day at the Osage Area of the Glen Elder State Park. All activities are free with a State Park Pass. The highlight of the festivities will be the Fireworks display that will begin at dark.
Next year's Leadership Mitchell County class has been elected.
Julia Rabe told the group that the Dream Big project has been selected. This will be a downtown green space and activity center. The location has been selected but it has not been made public at this time.
The North Central Kansas Regional Planning Commission will be celebrating its 50th anniversary. The official ceremony will be sometime in October or November.
Finally, Plum Creek will be observing its 20th anniversary on June 20th at 5:30.


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