Fort Scottians asked to spruce up for annual reunion

Friday, April 10, 2015
Lindsay Madison, left, exécutive director of the Fort Scott Area Chamber of Commerce, speaks with Beth Nuss, right, following the Downtown Quarterly Meet and Greet Tuesday morning at Bids and Dibs, a thrift/consignment store. Store owner Angela Simon looks on. (Loretta George/Tribune)

Fort Scott, company is coming. Let's tidy up.

Businesses were asked to spruce up storefronts in preparation for the Fort Scott High School All School Reunion the last weekend in June during the Fort Scott Area Chamber of Commerce Quarterly Downtown Meet and Greet Tuesday, hosted by Bibs and Dibs consignment store.

"We are asking storefronts to be vibrant, cleaned up," Lindsay Madison, executive director of the Chamber, said. She said recently businesses decorated with a Fort Scott High Tiger theme and encouraged the same for the reunion weekend.

Attendee Kate Emmett-Sweetser spoke on Janet Braun's idea to have individuals, businesses and organizations plant FSHS color theme red and white around the town to welcome returning alums. Braun is corresponding secretary for the Fort Scott High School 2015 Alumni Association Board.

Because of construction at the high school, registration and some receptions will be at Fort Scott Middle School, Madison said.

Registration is from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday, June 26, and 9 to 11 a.m. June 27.

Friday there will be an alumni parade at 5:30 p.m.

"They are inviting every class to enter, either a float or walking," Madison said.

Judy Renard, owner of The Country Cupboard, urged downtown businesses to stay open the night of the alumni festivities.

Renard said she will stay open both nights until 9 or 10 p.m., depending on the crowd.

Following the parade, individual classes will host events around Fort Scott in different venues.

There will be a luncheon on June 27 for FSHS classes 1925 to 1947 at Presbyterian Village. On Saturday afternoon there will be a teacher reception at 4 p.m. at Fort Scott Middle School, followed by a catered chicken dinner from 5 to 6:30 p.m. Tickets must be purchased through the alumni association at the USD 234 Board Office on Main Street, (620)223-0800.

Following the dinner, there will be two dances downtown, one at Third and Main streets and one at Skubitz Plaza.

For the night owls, there will be a late Saturday breakfast from 11 p.m. to 1 a.m. at the Ellis Fine Arts Center at Fort Scott Community College.

A farewell ceremony will be at 1 p.m. June 28 at Fort Scott High School Auditorium.

Emmett-Sweetser commended the city for waiting on street renovations.

"The city should be recognized for not tearing up the streets until after the reunion," Emmett-Sweetser said.

"Thank you," she said to Fort Scott City Manager Dave Martin, who attended the meeting.

Update on downtown buildings

Heather Griffith, Fort Scott economic director, gave updates on buildings in the downtown.

Griffith said 50 letters of support from businesses, organizations and individuals has given a positive impression of the city regarding Kansas Housing Resource Corporation tax credit allocation consideration for the dilapidated Western Building on First Street, she said.

"Community support sets us apart," Griffith said. "We won't know until the first week in May when the announcement comes out. Thanks to everyone who sent a letter."

The Lowell Milken Center for Unsung Heroes new building at Wall and Main streets is in the steel framing stage.

"They expect the building to be done in June," Griffith said. "The process of putting up the exhibits will be complete in the fall." The staff will have a grand opening event in October, she said.

The Eagle Block building on north National Avenue is being upgraded, Griffith said.

M and M Construction has the old Tribune building offices on both Wall and National to rent, Madison said.

Trolley update

Dolly the Trolley, the tourism bus for the Chamber/City of Fort Scott has been out of commission for about a year.

"We've raised $20,800...the cost of a trolley is about $45,000 to $60,OOO," Madison said. She said Kickstarter and GoFundMe online fundraising sites have been given for fundraising ideas, but they have limitations.

Griffith suggested a fundraising campaign for the trolley be set up for the reunion event and the Milkin Fellows Program attendees, who in the past have shown an interest in contributing to the fund, she said.

The trolley replacement is do-able, Beth Nuss, owner of New Generation Child Care, said.

"It can be accomplished, we just need to focus on the fundraising," she said.

City manager update

Martin said that the city will be working on overlaying Second Street, working on potholes throughout the city and "taking care to beautify" the city.

"We are focusing on codes," Martin said. "Our codes department is stringent on following codes. It's a very slow process. We haven't been holding people accountable to clean up their property. It's not fun, and people aren't happy."

Martin said there have been great strides with 20-plus projects the city is working on.

Angela Simon, owner of Bids and Dibs consignment store, said there is a pothole in the alley in back of her store on National Avenue that is eight inches deep.

"It's affecting our business," she said. Because of deterioration of an adjacent building, barricades have been set up preventing easy access for her consignment customers, she said. Griffith suggested calling Dave Martin to let him know about the potholes.

Other announcements

* Emmett-Sweetser said the Riverfront Park loop road on north National Avenue is currently under construction.

* Realtor Crystal Mason said the Blocker Mansion on National Avenue has been sold to Randy and Lisa Shannon of Drexel, Mo.

* Griffith said the Bark in the Park dog park location is on the agenda for approval at Tuesday's Fort Scott City Commission meeting. Shelter 7 has a small parking spot for dog park users and it won't compete with disc golf users, she said.

* Madison said Fort Scott Recreation Director Tom Robertson said the new LaRoche Baseball Complex is booked throughout the summer. Any businesses which would like information added to a tourist packet, along with promotional items, should contact the Chamber office, (620) 223-3566.

* Lauren Stanley, marketing, relations and event coordinator for the Chamber, said there is a long list of tourist groups coming this summer.

* Nuss, who is on the committee for putting American flags on poles at Skubitz Plaza reported the flags will be flying from May 15 to Nov. 15. She thanked the city for help in putting the flags up.

* Stanley said there is a free state tourism website for customer service that is accessible and encouraged any business engaged in customer service to take advantage of it.