We’re making final preparations for the 99th Annual Meeting and Celebration this coming Friday at 5:30 p.m. at the Manhattan Conference Center. We look forward to this event every year as it marks the ceremonial beginning of the new year and offers a chance to celebrate with our members and friends. Look for the information on Lud Fiser Citizen of the Year, C. Clyde Jones Volunteer of the Year and the Young Professional of the Year in this space next Monday.
In the meantime, there are some other items related to Chamber initiatives and priorities I would like to share.
Congratulations to the Greater Manhattan Community Foundation and volunteers that worked to secure a $3.5 million grant from the state for construction of the new childcare accelerator facility. Plans are moving forward for construction to begin soon at a site being donated by Ascension Via Christi.
We’ve discussed this project many times over the past two years. It will create the opportunity to start and grow new childcare businesses in hopes of creating a sustainable model that can be replicated across the state. The Kansas Children’s Cabinet announced the award on Friday.
Parks and Recreation Foundation
Two years ago, our members asked us to get involved in the city recreation program discussion. A group of volunteers worked with city staff on a sustainable funding model. One of the results of this dialogue was the creation of the Manhattan Parks and Recreation Foundation. The Foundation is currently working on two projects including recreation scholarship funding and raising capital to help construct an indoor aquatic center.
That group will be holding a reception Tuesday, Feb. 20 from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Union Pacific Train Depot. The goal is to raise $10,000 which would make the new organization eligible for GMCF’s Grow Green Match Day later this year.
For more information, go to https://www.mhkparksandrecfoundation.org/
East Manhattan Gateway Open House
Finally, the Chamber Board of Directors has prioritized engagement with the city’s East Manhattan Gateway Plan. The first opportunity for our members to participate will be at two open houses next week. The first is Monday, Feb. 12, from 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the Army National Guard, 721 Levee Drive. The second is the following day, Tuesday, Feb. 13, 4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. at Crestview Christian Church, 3940 Excel Road.
According to the city’s website: “The East Manhattan Gateway Plan is a corridor and area plan along the US Highway-24 corridor from the Manhattan Town Center Mall entrance to Hopkins Creek Road. The study area also includes the "McCall Triangle" and undeveloped greenfields surrounding existing residential development in the Green Valley area (see map at link below). The project was initiated in early 2023 and is expected to conclude with the adoption of a plan in summer of 2025. The plan will be developed by Stantec, the city's consultant for the project, which will address many planning-related topics including future development, transportation, public infrastructure (sewer, water, and stormwater), floodplain, parks and open spaces, market analysis, and emergency services.”
For more information, you can go here: https://www.cityofmhk.com/3210/East-Manhattan-Gateway-Plan