An article came out yesterday written by Mike Courson of the Great Bend Post. Mike’s a great guy from what little interaction I’ve had with him. The article was unfortunately titled “Stafford Eco Devo looking to Enhance Gateway to Quivira.” Kind of a touchy subject right now right? So here’s the back ground of how this article came about. 2 weeks ago I pretaped my monthly radio show that airs the third Thursday of every month. The radio show is a great way to get the word out about Stafford County Economic Development projects and raise awareness about issues the county is dealing with. I pretaped it as I was going to be at the Kansas Housing Conference. Mike created an article based on my pretapped radio program. I did not know he was going to write it. He has written articles based on the radio show before so it doesn’t suprise me. You can hear the full taping here:

We have been developing a program with Kansas Creative Arts Industries Commission (KCAIC) that draws people together. It’s a placemaking program that has grant funds attached to it. In the development of the ideas we came up with a plan to tap into the potential tourism market that Quivira attracts. The numbers of tourists that come into the county because of Quivira is really unknown but there are seasonal tourists that come to hunt, fish, bird watch, or to see the monarch butterfly migration. The City of Stafford is considered the Gateway to Quivira and we wanted to play on this monicor to develop a place in the downtown area of Stafford. The place includes a band shell, mural, benches, and additional beautification of the downtown area. Some of these things incorporated animals like cranes and butterflys. The place will be used for Octoberfest and any other events that Stafford comes up with to draw people into the community to shop at local businesses.

The past week I’ve been a part of a group that has been discussing the very important water issue that threatens the local economy. The Rattlesnake Creek water rights issue could be catastrophic to our communities. That’s why Carolyn Dunn has been putting together a letter of 35 signatories from 4 different counties to submit to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services to stop what they want to do in diverting water. I myself am a signatory and also helped in securing a number of the signatures in several of the counties. Our office is against what’s happening and working to make sure that what they are planning doesn’t come to fruition.

The KCAIC placemaking project is not connected in any way to Quivira. It does not help Quivira in anyway. It helps Stafford to develop a space they can use for events, something they had already in the works. Something that will help their businesses make money. I do stand by the article from Mike and the Great Bend Post because it’s not connected in anyway to the water issue. It’s an economic development project for Stafford. The timing of the article is aweful and the name of the project will be changed soon before the project gets off the ground. The project will be really good for Stafford and we are excited to see the event space when it’s done.

Here’s the Great Bend Post Article:

Working for you and not against you,

Ryan Russell

Executive Director

Stafford County Economic Development