Dear Chamber Supporters:
 
Good Friday afternoon all…always feels good to get to this point where the end of the week’s work is in sight. We have been busy in the Chamber office finishing up Legacy Square, and getting ready for the Travis Marvin concert on September 6. This being the first event on the new space, we are trying to calculate how best to arrange everything for easiest and best traffic flow, seating, etc. It is fun stuff to talk about….kind of like when you get a new toy!
 
I know many drive by and view the progress weekly…you will really appreciate the venue when you get the opportunity to set foot on the Square. The fact that so many community people came together to make this possible makes the space even more special. Here are this week’s progress pictures…dirt work began this week so that landscaping can begin next week. Workers are putting the final touches on the roofs…mainly installing gutters and trim at this point. Concrete work is essentially done with the asphalt parking areas left to complete. Signage will be installed soon.
 
The bronze medallions and the legacy bricks look fabulous. I’m anxious to see it with the fence removed and the lights turned on…I’m even more anxious for all of you to experience the space. It is fun to envision all the good times the community will experience on this location in the years ahead. Make sure your calendars are marked for 8:00 Friday morning September 6 for the ribbon cutting…hope you can make it.
 
Ottawa is mentioned in a national publication this week…last week I shared a story in the Kansas City Star which was also picked up and ran in the Wichita Eagle. USA Today took note and in the section “News from our 50 States” this blurb about Ottawa and other trail cities was sited. I can’t say it enough…people all around are taking notice of what we are doing here. Not only with the Legacy project but schools, hospitals, business development, and housing. It is a fun time to live and work in Ottawa.
 
Leadership Franklin County:
 
Fifteen budding new leaders began meeting formally this week…I was one of their first speakers at the Williamsburg library. One aspect of the class is to get the participants to all areas of the county. They spent the morning at the library getting to know one another and being introduced to the characteristics of leadership, ate lunch at Guy & Mae’s (yes I joined them for lunch…I wasn’t going to miss ribs!!) and traveled to the Prairie Star Ranch in the afternoon (pictures here). The Ranch facilitates team building, rope courses and leadership challenges. I haven’t got the full report from Sydney and Ryland yet but from the initial text messages it sounds as if all survived and had a fabulous afternoon. 
 
The curriculum and class syllabus assembled by the Leadership Board does an fabulous job of teaching leadership skills and causing class members to self-introspect their own skillsets. All this while additionally providing information about Franklin County and all the facets of what it takes for our community to be sustainable and whole.  LFC is worth the time and effort…if you haven’t participated before you should consider joining the class next year.
 
Eggs & Issues:
 
Every summer we bring in a high-level political pundit to enlighten the community on either state or national issues…this year David Toland, the Kansas Secretary of Commerce was our speaker. David grew up in Iola and is a 6th generation Kansan…he impresses crowds when and wherever he speaks. Absolutely no exception to this Thursday morning here in Ottawa…pictures here.  David talked about the important relationship Commerce has with all Kansas communities…if our state is to grow and prosper, someone must be recruiting new business and industry to come to our state. He explained the 3 main focuses of Commerce is workforce development, community development and business development…with the strongest emphasis and main priority being business development.
 
Over the last 8 years the department has been decimated to the point virtually no one is prospecting for future business to come to Kansas from other parts of the country or internationally. Secretary Toland is working to change all of this…the Secretary was lighthearted and fun as he delivered a serious message. David is the man for the job…and I think it is even more advantageous he is from our area. I’m looking forward to his department developing many new prospects to consider locating in Proximity Park…lead on Secretary Toland!!
 
Fusion Alley:
 
The long awaited and much anticipated ribbon cutting for Fusion Alley took place this morning…there was not surprisingly a big crowd on hand (over 100) (here are some pictures – there are more on our Facebook page). The alley was built by local investors who by self-admission, choose to serve their community by providing quality entertainment and dining options for their friends and neighbors – very admirable. They are committed to creating and maintaining a high-quality, family-oriented business of which our community and region will be proud…and also providing good clean fun. This is going to be great space!! It is colorful and bright…many good times will be spent in Fusion Alley. 
 
The companion restaurant, PrimeTime Grille is set to open in October. Looking at the menu on their webpage, it will provide another great eating option in Ottawa. Many thanks to Dr. Ken and Shelly Frank, Bob and Pat Hayden, Betty Birzer, Deb Henningsen, Phil and Claudia Gibson, Jim and Linda Lewis, and Drs. Rod and Jo McCalla for your investment in our community. There are many ways to lead and serve…you have chosen a very noble path – thanks from all the community!!
 
Ladies Night Out:   
 
Mark your calendars….Ladies Night Out is October 4 this year. This is always a fun evening in downtown Ottawa. Created mostly with the ladies in mind, most stores are open and invite everyone in…it is the chance to see what amazing shopping opportunities we have in our downtown. We generally have between 500 to 600 participants (mostly women…but a few men). All our business will have creative snacks and about half will serve an adult beverage which must be consumed inside the store in which it was served.  
 
This year the scavenger hunt will begin in Legacy Square where you can register and pick up your shopping bag. I encourage all to participate on this evening…it’s a fun evening to spend in downtown Ottawa. And even if you don’t want to walk Main and go in the stores, you can eat in one of our many downtown eating establishments.  Cherry and I will be there…hope we see you there too.  
 
My Bride turned 60:
 
Cherry’s calendar flipped around to the big 6 – 0 this week…still as pretty as the day I met her. Here are pictures of us eating out with family on Thursday, the day of her birthday. Both of us admit we don’t start quite as fast of a morning as we once did…but are in good health and we both enjoy life. We will have been married 37 years this fall…seems like just a moment ago. 
 
If you are looking for something fun this weekend Airport Fun Day is Saturday…great activities for the kids and you can eat breakfast and lunch at our local airport. They will also be giving plane rides and there will be bounce houses and parachute jumpers. The event runs from 8:00-1:00…the airport is located at 2178 Montana Road…if you have never been there you should go; and, while out there drive around Proximity Park just north of the airport.
 
Got to run…I’m headed to a kindergarten program at Appanoose School this afternoon. Yes…I’m sure my granddaughter will be the star!
 
Talk to you next week…
 
Onward ~ John   
 
John Coen
President/CEO
Ottawa Area Chamber of Commerce
785-242-1000

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