Solomon Valley Economic Development held their monthly meeting on Thursday at the North Central Regional Planning Commission office in Beloit. A video presentation by Isabella Hartman entitled “Why Rural Kansas Matters” was shown for which she won the Rural Voices Video Contest. Hartman received an $850 scholarship for her winning entry. Her presentation summarized the challenges and exceptionalities of rural Kansas. Click the link below to view her winning entry.
Robert Davis delivered the treasurer’s report showing total funds of $124,353 scattered across several accounts and certificates of deposit.
Solomon Valley Community Development Director Heather Hartman spoke about a conference she attended put on by the Dane G. Hansen Foundation (DGHF). She said strategic planning was encouraged, and that future DGHF funding will be contingent on five-year planning. They also discussed funding summer interns for local businesses. They request that businesses seeking interns have an actual project for interns to participate in and not just daily office work. The DGHF will pay for the intern, but the business they intern for will be responsible for housing them. Hartman said this summer’s internships are spoken for, but they plan to have the program again next year.
Front line customer service training will also be a large push in the future that the DGHF intends to support. The first impressions program currently taking place has revealed a need for such training, and financial support will be provided by DGHF along with K-State Research and Extension.
Hartman also noted that the First Impressions Program has been approved by the Beloit City Council and they will partner with Clay Center. People from both communities will anonymously evaluate shopping, recreation, infrastructure and overall aesthetics of the communities. They will bring their findings and ideas together at an August meeting.
Hartman also said the city is planning to participate in the Housing Rehabilitation and Demolition program again next year. In the last round, $400,000 was used to improve or demolish dilapidated structures. $350,000 will be available for the coming round.
Hartman said a meeting of several area economic development entities met in Beloit two weeks ago and had a good dialogue. They discussed successes and challenges facing economic development in rural areas. Plans to involve junior and senior high school students in activities continue to be a focus for economic development endeavors.
A summer enrichment academy for seventh, eighth and ninth grade students will take place as a collaborative effort between Beloit, St. John’s and NCK Tech.
Hartman discussed the Tree City USA event held in Beloit last month. Roughly 150 people attended the event for tours and meetings. She said she received very positive feedback from attendees.
Three local projects have been approved for the façade improvement program to upgrade exterior aesthetics at those businesses. New businesses have also been a focus for Hartman who continues to recruit and assists new endeavors. She also discussed the upcoming county wide cleanup May 1-5. $20,000 is available for the project which will go to cover landfill fees until the money is used up.
Kent Miller delivered the tourism report. He said there is an event calendar available at www.mitchellcountykstourism.com. Those interested in having their event posted online are encouraged to submit their event information via email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Miller added there was a two-page layout in the latest U.S. Forestry Service newsletter on Beloit’s hosting of the Tree City USA event.
SVED Board President Curt Frasier discussed an event held on Wednesday night in Beloit to recognize the 18 recipients of the latest round of Solomon Valley Community Foundation Grants provided by the DGHF.
Frasier also said Leadership Mitchell County, for the first time in their 17 years, went to Wichita for a three day event at the Kansas Leadership Center. Frasier said they are looking forward to getting feedback from the group who attended the program last week.
Chamber of Commerce Director Gina Broeckelman said she is working on Memorial Day events and that H&R Block is underwriting the insurance costs for the parade so entries will not have to pay a fee to participate. She said they plan to block off Main Street from Grey Drug and Fountain to Zachary’s ACE Hardware to have a “Kid’s Zone” for children’s activities between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. on Saturday of Memorial Day weekend. There will be a monster truck event featuring six trucks on Sunday and a demolition derby on Saturday. The Cruisin’ Mill event will also be taking place, but it is not associated with the chamber or the city.
The next meeting of SVED is scheduled to take place on Thursday, May 18 at the NCRPC office in Beloit.