Dear Chamber Supporters:
 
I’m having a hard time believing it’s the middle of June already…time is just flying by. It’s a crazy year with all the moisture and (for the most part) cool weather. Cherry and I finally got our garden planted this week…albeit we had it planted once and it got flooded. We still haven’t planted sweet corn yet. In visiting with Pat Campbell with the Farmer’s Market, he said produce is down this year…I’ve heard the same thing from farmer’s markets all over Eastern Kansas. It only makes sense…this has been up to this point, a bad growing season. Farmers finally got unleashed this week to make major inroads to planting soybeans and additionally starting to getting hay baled. Rod and Billie Harris report the brome is really tall this year…at least the grass is benefiting from all the rain – you can discern that by looking at my lawn!!
 
Legacy Square:
 
It’s been a good week of building at Legacy Square although it’s not things you notice as much as when the steel went up for the pavilion and the restrooms were constructed. Coming up out of the ground with construction is certainly more exciting and visible. This week workers were pouring footings for the column wraps and also digging to establish more of the underground drainage to connect with the collection box which was established under 1st Street last week. Also electric and mechanical work began in the restroom (here are a few pictures). I was on site Thursday afternoon when the steel was delivered for the 3 smaller covered shelters…they should be built in the week ahead. Paul and Mat (IT gurus at the City) provided an aerial shot of the project…picture here. This picture would have been taken late last week after the alley had been overlaid and before the parking was stripped. 
 
We are still having calls for Legacy Bricks…it’s not too late but the bricks are more expensive now – $120.00 for a 4” x 8” brick and $200.00 for an 8” x 8” brick. You can pay for those here respectively…$120 4″ x 8″ and $200 8″ x 8″.We will place an order every time we sell 5 bricks…we should have an order go in next week. If you dallied and didn’t get your Legacy Brick purchased here is your chance. The difference in price is because of the volume of the order…once you get over 100 bricks the price reduces. If we order 5 at a time we at least avoid shipping costs. Might make a great Father’s Day Gift!!
 
Summer Construction at Schools:
 
Driving by the local schools you will notice a lot of summer construction ongoing…here are pictures from Garfield. Dirt work is well underway for the construction of the new Pre-Kindergarten facility which will adjoin the main school and be ready to open in the fall. Playground equipment had to be moved to make room for the new Pre-K building and new equipment will be installed later this summer…in fact the playground equipment has been removed at Lincoln too and the dirt work on this site is to establish a new playground. Once complete all 3 grades schools will have similar and equal play equipment. I’m learning as we fundraise for the Legacy Square, play areas and play equipment is expensive. The schools installing new equipment will benefit many…USD 290 is refreshing their recess and exercise areas and in turn providing the used play equipment to the City to disburse in several of the parks here in town. This is a win-win! Also building continues on the new Performing Arts Center at the High School…scheduled to be completed in November, Dr. Cobbs reports they might be a little ahead of schedule. I’m anxious to see this new space…it certainly looks interesting from the outside. The Middle School is not being left out either…painting and refreshing is taking place inside the building. All facilities should be ready for the start of school this fall. 
 
Bobbie Hawkins:
 
Longtime Ottawa Police Department Lieutenant Bobbie Hawkins retired this week…here are a few pictures from the reception. Bobbie has served Ottawa for 36 years and has left an indelible mark on the Ottawa Police Department and this community…there was a huge turnout to say thanks and congratulations. Over all this time, Bobbie has worn many hats and acquired many friends…most recently she has been the Support Services Commander – and Accreditation Manager. Cheers Bobbie on your retirement…thanks for your public service and strong efforts to make our community safer.    
 
Dream Kitchens:
 
Chamber members traveled north near Centropolis this morning to greet and learn about Dream Kitchen and Supply Company. Phil Pearce has been building cabinets and kitchens for 25 years…ready to start slowing down, Phil introduced his son Tom who is stepping up into more of a management role in the business (here are the pictures). Through all these 25 years, Phil and Dream Kitchen have developed a trusted and valued relationship with many satisfied customers. Dream Kitchen provides cabinet design, sales and installation to families and builders. His workmanship is high-class and quality construction…his company’s cabinets are beautiful. Phil and Tom have state of the art software which allows them to design your new kitchen and see what it will look like before you ever begin construction. Most recently Phil has served a term on the Chamber Board of Directors…many thanks to Phil for his service and being a longtime Chamber member. I don’t think Phil will be a stranger to the business…his idea of slowing down will still probably continue to involve pretty long days!
 
New Signage:
 
There have been several new signs going up this week…pictures here. This is a good “sign” of growth and change. The sign on the front of Fusion Alley says open in August. I was by there this week and there is certainly a lot of work going on inside. Also lumber has been delivered to the site of the new hotel…they should begin construction soon. The intersection at Kingman and U.S. Hwy 59 will undergo renovation this summer too…in preparation for Proximity Park to be ready for building. It’s great to have a community with growth and change…most communities would give anything to have all the growth activity we are experiencing here.
 
I will be in Ottawa University board meetings all day today and tomorrow…there will be a number of OU alums in town as we gather on campus for board meetings. I’m always interested in getting a read on someone who is familiar with Ottawa but doesn’t see it every day. Maybe I’ll have some good antidotal stories next week.
 
Here are a couple grandkid pictures from last weekend. I had Evie and Jase starting early Saturday morning. Grandpa is great at cooking breakfast…you can’t go wrong with bacon and eggs!
 
Talk to you next week…
 
Onward ~ John
 
John Coen
President/CEO
Ottawa Area Chamber of Commerce
785-242-1000