Wednesday, August 12, 2009

The Community Building

I recently had a man stop by my office and ask me what the vision for McPherson is. By the pleased look on his face I could tell he felt he stumped me.
The problem with such an open-ended question as that is there are as many visions for the future of McPherson as there are people in McPherson.
Mr. X went on to tell me his vision for the community building -- he'd like to see a large post office/arena/office space.
Truth be told my vision for the future of the CVB has much to do with the future of the community building.
It's no secret the latest budget session left the city commission looking for areas to cut and one place it looked was the community building. The two part-time staff members were cut with one going to work for the park department and the other retiring. The building is now "closed" but is still available for rent.
Earlier this year, the commission looked at using a half-percent sales tax to raise money to renovate the community building. Then the Opera House line-jumped and got the half-percent sales tax to complete the auditorium and the commission pulled the community building question off the ballot. I'm tickled pink the Opera House has found the funds to finish its renovation, but I hope no one forgets about the community building which has an interesting history of its own.
I've been churning over ideas in my head about ways to use the building and the one I keep coming back to is for it to be a visitors center.
I've stopped at the visitors center in Lawrence which is in a rehabilitated train station. The LVC has a large room that is available for rental for meetings and other functions in one end and visitor center with information from all across Kansas in the other end. The building is beautiful and the grounds around it are gorgeous.
The community building in McPherson serves an important function as a place for the annual Community Thanksgiving and Christmas Dinners. The annual book sales, train shows and plant sales are all held there plus many more community events.
I would love to see the basketball court area used as a visitor center and Globe Refiners Museum and the auditorium turned into space that could be rented for public functions or basketball games. If my offices were located there I could pursue bringing in home and garden shows, family movie nights during the winter, and a variety of other activities geared at bringing visitors to town as well as improve the quality of life for McPherson residents.
There does not appear to be any immediate plans to tear down the building or renovate it so I think I will continue to let my plans churn over in my head, dropping suggestions, seeking input. Send me yours at

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