Dear Chamber Supporters:
 
Well…the day finally arrived. After 3 years of planning and fundraising and a year of construction, we cut the ribbon on Legacy Square this morning. Over 200 people were on hand, including all our major donors to celebrate and officially dedicate the outdoor space and turn it over to the community. Here are a few pictures. And don’t forget…the big celebration is this evening with the Travis Marvin concert which is free to everyone. Also on hand will be 4 food trucks and a beer garden…so please come enjoy the evening at your leisure, have a meal and get a feel for the new space (bring your lawn chairs). Even if you don’t stay for the whole evening, come and stay long enough to experience the Legacy Square…it will be a fun time and a big celebration!!
 
Also this morning we unveiled the new 2019 Chevrolet Silverado which we are raffling to benefit the Square…we began selling raffle tickets today. Sam Walker, the construction manager from Loyd Builders for the Legacy Square project purchased ticket #1! Also included in the prize drawing is a .22 riffle with a scope donated by The Gun Guys to be awarded with a gun safe donated by Orscheln’s, a Yeti cooler donated by Rod and Pam Harris, a grill donated by Trendel Lumber, plus a $1,000.00 cash prize. Here are the complete rules for the drawing which will be October 26 at Legacy Square at 11:00 a.m. (you need not be present to win!). Only 1,000 tickets will be sold so your odds are way better than the Kansas Lottery. I hope you will take a chance…all the proceeds go to Legacy Square.
 
Final Week of Construction: 
 
First let me say we are not 100% done…the Franklin County medallion has not arrived, we have 2 large flower pots which have also not come yet as well as the last of the Legacy Bricks. Also to install is the large screen in front of the restroom. Here is a picture of the screen to be placed next week…it’s pretty cool; it was fabricated by Select Steel. Lastly we have 2 bridges yet to be delivered. But even with those last items undone…the space looks fabulous.   
 
The sod and the asphalt (pictures of both) were each installed on Wednesday this week…the space was as busy as an ant farm that day!! Once these two jobs were complete it transformed the area…it seems Legacy Square changed more in the last 3 days than it did the last 3 weeks. I drove by at 9:30 last evening to see the space lit up…low and behold the electrician, John Campanelli of Performance Electric Solutions was on site making final checks and corrections. Everyone wants the space to be as perfect as possible for the concert this evening. This is what is great about using our local contractors to build this space.
 
Here are pictures of much of the finish up work from this last week. This is the sign being placed at the southwest corner. The benches were also installed…here are some of the finishing touches being completed yesterday. 
 
Mural:  
 
Another mural was painted on the back of another business across from Legacy Square this week…this time it is the Ottawa Bike and Trail shop to add to the ambiance of the area. Here is a picture. A drawing of the State of Kansas with all the trails mapped is the perfect choice for the Bike and Trail store. The buildings in the 100 block of Main Street have all been well maintained…I’m sure going forward we will see more improvements and spruce-ups to the rear entrances as customers entering from Legacy Square will increase. 
 
Farm Bureau Legislative Tour:
 
Every year the Franklin County Farm Bureau (FB) hosts local elected officials for a farm tour and political discussions (pictures here). This year FB hosted in Wellsville at the Mile Stone event center on Wednesday evening…I’m honored to be included. The FB approached the evening a little different this year…instead of a local agriculture tour we gathered for a meal and leadership from Kansas Farm Bureau was invited to discuss the political climate in agriculture for the State of Kansas…access to affordable healthcare and broadband internet are the 2 top issues. This was followed by our local FB leaders describing the economic environment and weather challenges for Franklin County farmers. After Ag Leaders described the rural perspective, elected officials shared the challenges they face in their respective offices. On hand was the sheriff, county commissioners, local state Representatives Blaine Finch and Mark Samsel along with Senator Caryn Tyson. Additionally representatives from Senator Moran and Congressman Steve Watkins’ offices attended on behalf of their bosses. Making an appearance in person was Congressman Roger Marshall who is a candidate for the open U.S. Senate seat in 2020. The congressman spoke about the national scene and the need to eliminate tariffs and also to get the United States/Mexico/Canada (formerly NAFTA) trade agreement ratified and signed.  All in all it was a very enlightening evening…we shouldn’t forget Agriculture is the top industry in the state and in our county too. 
 
Plaza Cinema:
 
Our own Plaza Cinema was recognized in a national publication this week…you can read the article here. Good job Scott Zaremba for the improvement to the downtown movie theater and for keeping it ongoing!! Cherry and I are not huge moviegoers but when something comes out we enjoy it nice to able to see it without traveling to the city. Our most recent excursion to the local theater was to take grandkids to see the recently released Lion King (non-animated) movie. It was a fun evening (here is a picture). 
 
New Hotel:
 
We can finally see progress/construction of the new Holiday Inn Express…pictures here at the south end of town. This has been a really slow start since this was first announced in the spring of 2018. The delay has not been on our end…it is entirely the developer who has lagged. But it is up and going now so we look forward to this project transforming the south entrance from I-35 into our community. The hotel will be a huge upgrade!
 
Architect One:
 
Scott Gales was our presenter this morning at First Friday Forum (pictures here)…he did a wonderful job of recounting the process which brought us to the point of opening Legacy Square today. It was Scott and his team which lead the charrette process in January of 2017…and then him that quantified the over 300 ideas and coalesced them into the project we have today. Scott also helped organize our teams. It was fun hearing him describing the process, what the first rendering looked like and how the project ultimately turned out. Here is the video his firm produced to help us with fundraising…it’s amazing how close the project rendering resembles the facility we have today. During the project we worked the closest with Mark Porth who is also with Architect One…I highly recommend this firm – they did a great job for us.   
 
K-State Football:   
 
KSU kicked-off the 2019 football season with win number one…also win number one for new Coach Chris Klieman. Go CATS!! Here are pictures from our family tailgate…yes – I know…a lot of purple!!
 
Sorry my note is late today…it has been a really busy day. I hope I see you this evening. We are going to have a huge community celebration…and we should. It is hard to acknowledge and thank all the people who made this project happen. The partnership which was forged with the City of Ottawa; the Onward Ottawa board that cemented the project and took the risk to raise the money – not to mention all the individuals who worked on committees to design, promote, and help raise the money (over 50 altogether); the business community and citizens who stepped up by contributing; the downtown businesses and traffic which put up with the construction process. This doesn’t even include all the contractors, Loyd Builders, architects, attorney, and developers which all worked together to make Legacy Square possible.   
 
Thanks to all of you!!! This is a great community…we proved what we can do when we all work and pull together. Onward Ottawa…our future is bright!!
 
Talk to you next week…
 
Onward ~ John   
 
John Coen
President/CEO
Ottawa Area Chamber of Commerce
785-242-1000
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