The beginning of a new year is typically a time for taking stock, looking ahead, and establishing goals for the future. The Tribune asked some community leaders what they would like to see happen in Pratt in 2014.
Kenton Ladenburger, president, Pratt Area Economic Development Corp.
• I would like us to work toward improving the quality of life in Pratt which would include progress made on either reopening the Barron Theater or something new. I think it's important that we have these types of activities for both our youth and adults in the community. I think it's something a prospective business is looking at when they are considering to either expand or open a new business in our community. We already have many things to offer in our community, we just need to offer a wider variety.
• I am very excited about what's currently happening in Pratt, from the addition at the hospital to the new Filley Art Museum to the reopening of the ethanol plant to the new businesses on the eastern edge of Pratt. The Pratt Area Economic Development has been in discussions with several businesses looking to either open or expand in Pratt. I look forward to finalizing those plans in 2014.
• I look forward to our new arrangement for Pratt Economic Development with the City of Pratt. I would like us to be more aggressive in pursuing new business to Pratt and to work on possible avenues to help in our housing shortage in the area. We have a low unemployment rate here in the area and one of the challenges to bringing new workers to the area is a lack of adequate housing. The challenge is that real estate is a long term investment that requires the demand to remain strong for a long period of time in order for new housing to work.
Jeremy Doggett, president, Pratt Area Chamber of Commerce
• I would like to see a healthier community for 2014. Pratt is not immune to poverty or drugs but we do seem to have resources available to help people get on track. With the addition of the Hope Center, I look forward to seeing how they can guide people to all the local resources we have to offer which will hopefully in turn make our community healthier.
• Pratt is moving in a forward direction in regards to economic growth. It is my hope that all entities in the Pratt area would continue to work together so that we can have more growth that impacts our community in a positive way while maintaining a quality of life we can enjoy. The Pratt area is fortunate to have many leaders and employers who do work together and I think it's a must if we want to continue in a forward direction. Many of our leaders and employers encourage civic involvement in our community as well and I would like to see that continue as well.
• Last on my list would be the addition of a convention center. We are very fortunate to host certain events in Pratt each year such as the Miss Kansas Pageant, the PCC Rodeo, sports tournaments at the Blythe, and others. I think we have an untapped market though when it comes to mid-size conventions. I realize that this is something that might not come to fruition in 2014 but I think it's an idea worthy of looking at.
Jeanette Siemens, leadership coach and chief operating officer for Public Square Communities, Inc.
• I anticipate the opening of the Hope Center (a clearinghouse for resources to serve local residents in need of help).
• I hope to have the Circles part of the program up and running by the end of 2014.
Circles enables those who chose to do so to enter a program that will help them get out of poverty, she explained. She's enthusiastic about its success in other communities and will be the facilitator of the program in Pratt.
• I would like to see that kind of cooperation (in developing the Hope Center) throughout the rest of the community, combining skills and talents to make this a better place to live.
Glenna Borho, Pratt County commissioner
• Growth in volunteerism so we can help our fellow Pratt residents
• Crime rate reduction
• Growth in county's population achieved through continued economic development
• Increase in cooperation among all governmental entities
Charles Rinke, Pratt County commissioner
• We're doing real well at the recycling center, but I'd like to see 100 percent of people using it, to reduce the expense of operating and expanding the landfill.