Tuesday, April 21, 2009

How would good walking and biking trails contribute to Mac?

I attended a meeting last night led by Jim Boyer about walking and biking trails in McPherson. Jim is a member of the city planning and zoning commission (p&z). The p&z have officially taken the stance in favor of developing better walking and biking trails through out McPherson.
My initial interest in attending was the idea of developing the biking trail between Lindsborg and McPherson because I get calls at the CVB about biking trails in the area -- not a ton of calls but enough to get me wishing we had one. The trail, the Meadowlark Trail, apparently already does exist and begins near Northview and Hwy 81 Bypass on the northwest edge of town. The path is still pretty primitive and can only be hiked and not biked yet. Brad Hall who has worked with the group trying to develop Meadowlark Trail was at the meeting last night.
Here's a little info. and history on the project from hutchnews.com http://www.hutchnews.com/Print/giftfran
At the trailhead in McPherson is Hess Park, which in my opinion is the perfect location for a dog park. More on that later.
The meeting last night focused more on sidewalks inside the city. The consensus on the top two priorities was putting in sidewalks along Ave. A and Northview. Some other areas noted were the area around the middle school north along Hartup to First Street and continuing on north to N. High Drive. At least three of McPherson's six schools would be hit on this path. All of Euclid Street and the streets around McPherson College, particulary Sharp were singled out as needing either better sidewalks or sidewalks period. If you've ever gone to a Bullpups football game at McPherson Stadium you'll know firsthand what a nightmare parking and walking is in that part of town.
I wish Jim and his group good luck in pursuing better walking corridors throughout McPherson and hope the Meadowlark Trail becomes a viable bike route. I'm told there is a work day on the trail this Saturday. If I find out any more information, I'll let you know.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Tree City, USA

If you've spent any time in McPherson you won't be surprised to know McPherson is a Tree City USA and it has been for 30 years.

To become a Tree City, USA, a distinction given by the Arbor Day Foundation, a city must:

  • Your city must have a Tree Board or Forestry Department . This only means that if your city can't afford a department for tree care and management, you can create a board of volunteers. This is the only way to go in smaller communities.
    Your city must have a local tree ordinance. Every community should have an annual work and action plan. This tree ordinance helps define the action plan. It will provide clear guidance for planting, maintaining and removing trees from streets, parks and other public places.

  • Your city must spend $2 per capita. In most cases this amount, and probably much more, is being spent by city work crews. If not, you may need the Tree City USA program more than you know.

  • Your city must promote Arbor Day. This may be the easiest of the four standards. Proclaim Arbor Day in your city and plant a few trees.

Today the city commission approved a proclamation in honor of Arbor Day April 24. The tree board will plant a tree in Lakeside Park across from Washington Elementary at 9 a.m. Friday with the help of WES fourth graders.

I can't say enough good things about our park department which maintains 14 public parks in the city as well as the planters downtown. Parks Superintendent Paul Katzer and his staff are very dedicated. When we first visited McPherson in 2006, the beautiful parks were one of our first stops. They speak volumes about the quality of life in McPherson.

Now if we could just get a dog park up and going...

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

All Schools Day -- 96 years of tradition in Mac

One of the things I loved most about Mac the first year we lived here was the All Schools Day celebration in May. For those of you have never been, it's a celebration of the county's students that began 96 years ago. It used to be to honor those graduating from 8th grade as many of them were leaving school for good come May Day to help with the family farm. The 8th grade facet has sort of died out and now it includes many more activities.
May fete: is the traditional May pole dance, crowning of ASD royalty and other performances. It takes place two nights -- usually one at Lakeside Park and one at the Roundhouse at McPherson High School
Parade: This is one parade that hasn't died out. It has actual floats and marching bands and clowns and horses and dignitaries. It's awesome. It's what a parade should be. Most small town parades have died down to people riding in pickups and throwing candy. ASD is still going strong and draws close to 30,000 to Mac.
Madathon: A competition between various teams of eighth graders doing silly competitions. I laugh hard every time I go. I think there are also 5th grade teams and a high school version of it the next day. The 5th and 8th grade teams compete at Linneas Park the afternoon of the parade.
Fireworks at Wall Park Friday night.
Carnival: the carnival sets up at Wickersham Park for a week more or less and has plenty of rides for all ages.
The CVB is getting into the spirit of ASD and planning some events. The trolley will be in the parade and offer historical tours for $5 afterwards. Saturday morning we're planning a stained glass tour starting at the Opera House (10 a.m.) that's free. Saturday night we're putting on a movie in the park at the bandshell in Lakeside Park.
Plenty of fun to be had in McPherson May 8-9. Come enjoy a little slice of Americana!!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Road trip to Abilene

I make twice weekly road trips to Abilene to meet my ex and swap kids so I'm always on the lookout for stuff to do in Abilene. This Elizabeth "Grandma" Layton exhibit at the Eisenhower library caught my eye. As a student at KU, I worked for a non-profit called Kansans for the Improvement of Nursing Homes, now called Kansas Advocates for Better Care. Grandma Layton drew a poster for KINH and it appeared on most of our promotional items. Check out this from the Abilene CVB for a little history on this amazing artist.

Here's the link for KABC http://www.kabc.org/index.html to find out more about their organization.

Elizabeth "Grandma" Layton Exhibit

The Arts Council of Dickinson County is pleased to announce that a collection of Elizabeth Layton drawings will be on exhibit in Abilene from April 17 through May 5. The Eisenhower Presidential Library & Museum is partnering with the Arts Council to host the Opening Night Festivities at the Eisenhower Presidential Library on Friday, April 17. The exhibit will be open for viewing beginning at 5:30 p.m. and a short film on age-related depression will be shown at 6:30 p.m. with a reception immediately following. RSVPs to 263-6700 are requested for those planning to attend the Opening Night Festivities. The exhibit will remain at the Eisenhower Presidential Library through April 25. The exhibit will then be available for viewing at Frontier Estates through May 1 and then at the Senior Center through May 5. The exhibit is open to the public and free of charge at all of the locations. Elizabeth Layton, a native of Wellsville, Kansas, had no way of knowing the change that drawing would make in her life. She took one contour drawing art class at the age of 68 while fighting a 35-year bout with depression. By taking that art class, she cured her depression and changed the lives of many. Few artists have depicted such far reaching social concerns as capital punishment, homelessness, hunger, racial prejudice, AIDS, aging and the right to die. Each drawing challenges us to walk in the shoes of the less fortunate and work not only for a kinder and gentler nation, but for a kinder and gentler self. The Elizabeth Layton Exhibit was made available to the Arts Council by Central Kansas Mental Health of Salina to help raise awareness of mental health issues during Mental Health Awareness Month. The Arts Council of Dickinson County is a non-profit organization supported by its members and dedicated to promoting the arts among families in Dickinson County. This concert is presented in part by the Kansas Arts Commission, a state agency, and the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency, which believes a great nation deserves great art.