Solomon Valley Economic Development, Inc. (SVED) – September 15, 2022

By Terry Bailey

The monthly SVED was held at the North Central Regional Planning Commission Conference Room on September 15, 2022. Eleven members were in attendance.
The Treasurer's Report was submitted by Robert Davis.
Emily Benedick, Mitchell County Community Development director, gave an update on the expenses to date on the Sperry Building.
Benedick reports the giant AC units are gone from the roof! Invoices have been paid for Fouts Insurance, Wayne Huggins and Willow Springs. Jackson Glass estimates it will be four to six weeks before the windows installed.
There is a grant available for downtown commercial restoration through the Kansas Department of Commerce. This HEAL program offers $75,000 grants for improvements, but SVED would be required to provide $75,000 in matching funds. Grants are due October 21.
SVED is committed to investing nearly $40,000 into the building. This would be an opportunity to match those dollars. Most of the required documents are already in hand to apply for the grant. SVED has a preliminary cost estimate, preliminary architectural report and a business plan developed for the Solomon Valley Office Suites idea. Jim Gates made a motion to apply for the HEAL funding, seconded by Lydia Housh. The motion carried. Benedick will contact Geisler Roofing and Jackson Glass to postpone any construction dependent upon the awarding the funding.
Benedick reported on the lots owned by SVED. There was still no interest shown by adjacent residential landowners for the lots. Flyers will be available at the upcoming vacant building tour, as well as displayed in the Sperry building windows.
Benedick gave an update on the Murals of Mitchell County. A new mural was completed on the Cawker City medical building. The mural was painted by local artist, Kelsey Adams. Another mural is underway at Kettle. Maddi Sutter is working on this mural along with her intern, Lanae Lamb. The Waconda Trader mural in downtown Beloit is slated to begin in October.
Mitchell County is applying for $50,000 in SEED grant dollars to support childcare providers. $2,500 of this grant will also go to two locally owned food retailers, such as a convenience store, to help purchase a new cooler. Benedick asked SVED to cover the $250 in matching funds required for the business grants. Lydia Housh made a motion for SVED to provide the $250 in matching funds, seconded by Mike Thompson. The motion carried. Since SVED is providing the matching dollars, recipients of these grants will be required to be SVED members to receive the funds.
Benedick submitted an application to Fort Hays State University for an intern to work on SVED and City of Beloit projects. The applicant provides $500 towards the intern's salary, then the Dane G. Hansen Foundation provides the rest. The City of Beloit has agreed to cover $250. Benedick requested SVED pay the remaining $250. She anticipates the intern working on the following projects: Murals of Mitchell County marketing, SVED new website exploration, small scale downtown beautification projects throughout the county, and childcare provider appreciation projects. Jim Gates made a motion to provide the remaining $250 to cover our portion of the intern's wages, seconded by Robert Lampert. The motion carried.
A vacant building tour in downtown Beloit is planned for October 5 from 5:30 pm to 7:00 pm. There are four building confirmed for the tour but there are hopes for at least three more. The tour will include any buildings that are empty. Informational flyers will be available at each building. The public is invited to participate in these tours!
Benedick is working with the North Central Regional Planning Commission to host a Regional Economic Development and Chamber Round Table on October 13 at NCK Tech. The hope is to bring this group together as there are many new people in economic development and chamber of commerce roles across North Central Kansas.
Emily Benedick and Curt Frasier discussed the need to review the FY2023 budget. SVED currently has major community projects in the works. While SVED can cover the current projects, in order to continue taking on new projects and continue making investments into Mitchell County, a discussion was held on whether SVED should consider raising their annual dues from $25 to $50. A $100 fee for the first year for new members would still apply.
Frasier presented an amendment to Section 1: Dues of Article V of the by-laws would be necessary to make this increase. A motion was made by Lydia Housh to increase members' dues from $25 to $50 after the first year, seconded by John Shea. The motion carried. Plans are being made to solicit new members to SVED, as well as past members who have not paid dues in recent years.
Lydia Housh shared on behalf of Lucille Heller for Mitchell County Convention and Tourism. Tourism is working with the City and Julia Rabe to complete the new outdoor signage at the Little Red Schoolhouse by the middle of October. A cut-out photoboard, painted by Kelsey Adams, will also be located outside the Schoolhouse. The design for the two new billboards on Hwy. 24 is complete and plans have been made for installation
The boat parade and poker runs were well attended on at the Glen Elder State Park on Labor Day weekend. An estimated 50 boats participated in the parade.
The Wakonda Indian Festival is planned for Saturday, October 1, at Osage Park from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm. Watch for activities and updates on the Waconda Cultural Association Facebook page and tourism website. Is case of rain the affair will be moved to the Mitchell County Fairgrounds.
Ghostly Storytelling is planned for Saturday, October 15, at the State Park with s'mores, trailer rides and stories at dark.
The State Tourism photography company, "Mammoth," took pictures of the Glen Elder State Park and Waconda Springs attractions as one of three state parks to be featured this fall in state magazines.
Tipton celebrated its 150th year, with about 800 people attending.
The Mitchell County Museum has new displays. With the new location, they will rotate materials and displays at least every six months. This will allow stored displays to be shown on a regular basis.
The Mitchell County Historical Society is planning a public meeting to discuss the Gable property located on the corner of Hwy. 24 and Hwy. 14, as well as Hopewell Church in Glen Elder State Park. It is important for the public to attend these meetings and provide feedback on the future of these two properties. Both structures are in danger due to a lack of funding for maintenance and upkeep. The meeting is planned for Tuesday, September 27, at 7:00 pm at the Mitchell County Historical Museum now located on North Independence.
Jason Rabe presented for Leadership Mitchell County. The 22nd class was attending their second day at Ringneck Ranch for the September session. Mike Finnegan is presenting today.
Hannah Bowers reported the Chamber held its third annual Chamber Golf Classic on Sunday. The golf tournament committee included chamber board members TJ Owen, Cole Thomas and Jarret Brinker. The Chamber raised around $2,000.
The Chamber has seen an increase in new members since announcing the Chamber Blue health insurance. In order to be eligible, a person must be a member of the Beloit Area Chamber of Commerce. Chamber Blue of Kansas is health insurance through the chamber of commerce. They expect rates to be released in the next month.
Planning for Millapalooza is in full swing. Millapalooza will take place in downtown Beloit on September 24. Sponsors are still needed for the street dance and kids' zone. The drag races are not happening this year, but they hope to have things in place for 2023.
Jason Rabe shared the water plant plans are close to being approved by the state. The City is searching for additional dollars due to inflation which has boosted costs by 30 to 40% since the project first started. The state agencies will likely help provide additional dollars towards the project in order to keep costs down for the end user. The City solar farm is doing well and filling the energy gap where it can. The City estimates that the solar farm has saved approximately $100,000 over the last three months. About $70,000 of that benefits the end users. One year ago, the cost per kilowatt was 4.9 cents. Today the cost is 6.9 cents. Coal and natural gas prices have more than doubled from this time last year. The sidewalk project along 8th Street is starting soon. The City is planning to rebid the North Walnut project soon. Finally, the Gill Creek bridges are being completed this week!


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