Dear Chamber Supporters:
 
It was officially Americana in Ottawa, Kansas last night…what a great afternoon and evening. The States United are officially 243 years old and the Republic still stands…and locally we had a great celebration!! Forest Park was filled with families enjoying one another, taking rides on the Optimist Train, entering turtles in the turtle race, riding in the bike rodeo and signing up for the home run derby. The fireworks were amazing…thank you to Tiffany Evans and Tim Van Leiden and the entire Chautauqua Festival committee for giving our community an Independence Day celebration befitting of our nation and of Ottawa. 
 
Hundreds were in the park last night…several thousand enjoyed the fireworks which could be viewed for miles. Here are a few pictures of the fireworks from the park…albeit pictures of fireworks don’t give them enough credit to how majestic the show was. Setup began early in the afternoon…pictures here. I had never participated in setting up a fireworks display like this. Rex Carswell and his daughter Katie helped organize the mortar tubes. Tim Van Leiden and Rocky Evans became licensed and were crew chiefs during the setup. The weather was really perfect but the morning rains yesterday caused plenty of humidity. Between the levies by the river where the fireworks were launched, there was no breeze…thanks to all who set up the great display we all enjoyed.
 
The City Band gave a patriotic concert in the early evening…they self-proclaimed as the longest continuing performing municipal band in Kansas having given their first performance as an official organized municipal band in the late 1800s. You could tell they were hot playing their instruments in the sun last evening…we had hoped to set them up in the shade but all the recent rains caused the band to be on the hard surface of the road. There were enough clouds to make it bearable…but it was hot. Later in the evening the Bop Daddies played. Locally most are familiar with this band…they play mostly 50s and 60s classic rock. Most tapped their feet and hummed the familiar songs but some also danced. All in all it was a great celebration.
 
After the show the committee was already talking about how to make the event greater next year…what to add or change to the already festive occasion. If you would like to make a suggestion you can email Sydney from our office…the whole Chautauqua Festival committee will be anxious for your feedback.   
 
Sunflower Foundation:
 
Last Friday the Kansas Sunflower Foundation hosted a gathering of communities which are located on the Eastern Kansas trails. They intentionally choose Ottawa to convene the group because of the work we have done as a community to build and promote the Prairie Spirit Trail and the Flint Hills Trail which intersect in Ottawa. Here are a few pictures of Wynndee Lee, Midge Ransom and me presenting to the group which conferenced in the Bottle House.  Not only big encouragers of alternative transportation, but the trails are also a great resource of active living and outdoor activity for families and friends to enjoy. We described our communities early trail improvement/development by simply starting to identify local bike routes and building play pods on the trails…eventually advancing to our efforts locally to build Legacy Square. All were impressed with our local efforts…really envious is a better word. We titled our presentation “All Trails Lead to Ottawa”.   
 
Legacy Square:
 
Speaking of Legacy Square…a lot of concrete poured this week. Most of the concrete under the large pavilion was completed since last Friday – along with curbs and gutters around the pavilion and on Walnut Street…pictures here. The hard surface under the pavilions is a necessary step in order to begin the roof installation on all the covered shelters. Roofing should begin this week…also the stonemasons are being scheduled to return to do the column wraps and the monument signs. The entire block is beginning to take shape and form now. We still consider the project to be a little behind schedule but Loyd Builders is working hard to get caught up. Still just a bit early to announce our grand opening plans…but they are in the early stages of development of an event. Stay tuned!!
 
Eggs & Issues:
 
I can officially announce our annual Eggs and Issues political forum is scheduled for August 22 at AdventHealth Ottawa. Kansas Secretary of Commerce, David Toland has agreed to be our speaker. David an Iola, Kansas native and a longtime personal friend are very familiar with our community. I was fortunate to be a part of a small group which had lunch with him in his office a few weeks ago. He described his efforts to rebuild the Department of Commerce which was essentially disassembled under the Brownback administration. Commerce is important to Kansas and specifically local communities like ours. We rely on their resources to identify companies and industries which are looking to build or relocate to Kansas. Essentially they are one of our largest recruiting tools. Secretary Toland will do a good job in detailing his efforts to our local Chamber members and allowing good back and forth discussion…if you would like tickets to the event you can email Sherri here and she will take your reservation. Tickets are $15.00 and we almost always sell out.  
 
4th of July Family pics:
 
Every year our kids send us their patriotic family pictures…here are this year’s rendering (all except Todd who sent us pictures but he was a part of a large group of his friends). Our whole gang is gathering for the rest of the weekend at Beaver Lake in Rogers, Arkansas for family time and some rest and relaxation…we have a large house rented to facilitate everyone. We are actually gathering to officially celebrate Cherry’s 60th birthday this summer – which isn’t until August but this was a convenient time for everyone.
 
I hope all of you are enjoying some downtime for what will be a long weekend for many. Happy 4th of July to all of you…talk to you next week.
 
Onward ~ John
 
John Coen
President/CEO
Ottawa Area Chamber of Commerce
785-242-1000