City of Caldwell- Year in Review
A Year in Review for the City of Caldwell
Writing this article it is surreal to be even thinking about 2017 in past tense, let alone writing about it. What are year it was for Caldwell, the year of the Chisholm Trail 150th Anniversary and all of its glory. I could not be more proud to be a Caldwell citizen and work amongst some of the hardest working and dedicated people in the region. Having two Chisholm Trail celebrations within a four month time frame was a big endeavor, even for Caldwell. Both events brought visitors from all over to help celebrate a moment in time of our history along the Chisholm Trail.
Saloon girls galore, cowboys of all ages, and classic townspeople, were portrayed up and down Main Street. Two parades were held, live shows took center stage, with several concerts, games for kids of all ages, and all around fun was had by all two separate weekends. Both celebrations took the tireless efforts of many people to pull off. And let’s not forget to celebrate the amazing team of cowboys and cowgirls that organized yet another cattle drive that came through Caldwell. With sponsorship from area businesses and individuals, Carmen Schultz and her team pulled off a top notch cattle drive that helped celebrate life along the Chisholm Trail in living color.
A fantastic new Caldwell Visitor’s Center is a physical reminder of the 150th Chisholm Trail celebration and all of the work that was involved in making 2017 a year for the Caldwell history book. Please make a point to check out the Visitor’s Center transformation soon.
While putting together this article, it was harder than ever to reflect back on City projects and events outside of the Chisholm Trail events. Mostly because 2017 was most definitely THE Year of Chisholm Trail in this region.
The work of the Kansas Chisholm Trail 150th Committee was rewarded with Kansas Tourism’s most prestigious award, the Governor’s Tourism Award. Chamber President in 2017 and Finance Commissioner, Jill Kuehny and Tourism Director, Karen Sturm represented Caldwell on the Kansas Chisholm Trail 150th Committee. With their tireless efforts and attendance at numerous meetings and the works of several others, the Chisholm Trail is well on its way to being designated a National Historic Trail, as it should be.
Another notable happening in Caldwell was a project at the Senior Center for roof replacement. The City of Caldwell was awarded a USDA Community Facilities Grant on behalf of the Senior Center to help make the project happen.
Speaking of roof replacement, the City of Caldwell was able to receive a 2nd USDA Community Facilities Grant to help the Public Library fund its roof improvement project. Library fundraisers, donations, and the City of Caldwell kicking in an additional $10,000 this project was made possible. The City’s partnership with USDA Rural Development has proven once again to being key to helping stretch City funds on community projects.
On the housing front, one of the three City owned houses sold to a new to Caldwell family. It has been wonderful to watch this family integrate in to a very rural Caldwell from a large urban area. It would be great for this trend to continue with other individuals and/or families purchasing not only the two houses offered by the City, but those for sale by private citizens as well.
The City was able to demolish three unsafe structures, with the help of KanOkla’s Unsafe Structure Grant for Cities. With plans for the Cowley College Sumner County campus taking off and other development in the planning stages, Caldwell is on pace to grow along with the rest of Sumner County with this increase in in economic development activity. Cleaning-up abandoned and/or unsafe structures is costly, but it becomes necessary for the City to step in and do so when absentee property owners fail to take care of their properties as they should. The entrance to City Hall got a new look in 2017, with a new sign designed by Ginn Manufacturing. The fantastic landscaping in Osage Circle got a new friend, a large metal, rotating Caldwell Bluejay is on display and was also made by Ginn Manufacturing. Bluejay Circle looks better than ever and is set for more updates this year with crossing and sidewalk improvements with the City’s Safe Routes to School Project, a partnership with the Kansas Department of Transportation.
Heritage Park was also spruced up, getting a new version of the old mural reinstalled. With the help of private donations, funds from the Wheatland Electric’s Sharing Success Program, and City funds, the mural restoration project was made possible.
We saw a City Commissioner, Colin Wood replaced by a familiar face, Michelle Schiltz. I would be remiss to not mention the influence that Colin Wood had on the City of Caldwell for many years on the Caldwell City Commission. I have absolutely no doubt that the works of Colin Wood made the City of Caldwell better and Michelle Schiltz will continue that legacy through visionary leadership with her fellow City Commissioners.
Lastly, after years of planning and saving the City Commission approved a splashpad to be constructed in 2018. Thank-you to every individual, business, and family that bought a t-shirt or donated to the Caldwell Splashpad Project. With your help, and the gracious gift that is the Elbert, Martha, and Rhonda Sue Hedrick Trust, the Caldwell Splashpad will take shape coming months. Big thanks also to KanOkla Networks and Wheatland Electric for approving grants to fund this project and to S.H.A.R.E. for its contribution and efforts.
Watch for more details on City happenings from the Public Works Department and the Police Department in the Caldwell Messenger and on the City of Caldwell website, www.cityofcaldwellks.com in the near future.