Cheney Public Library Renovation- By Danielle Young, City Clerk
Published in the Kansas Government Journal- March 2014

The Cheney Public Library sits in the heart of downtown Cheney in one of the oldest standing buildings on Main Street. In fact, the historic two-story building at the corner of 1st and Main was built in 1905 to house Citizen’s Bank at a cost of $10,000. For the next 67 years, Citizen’s State Bank would call the main level their home and the upstairs of the building would be utilized by the Independent Order of Odd Fellows (IOOF) and the Daughters of the Revolution.


Over the years the building has seen renovations, such as a coal-based burner was replaced by a fuel-oil burner cabinet stove in 1940, modernized countertops were installed in 1947, and a complete renovation was done in 1958, which included adding modern heating and air, a night deposit drop, and enlarging the vault. The back of the building was converted into a vault and in 1958 it was “felt this was enough vault space to last forever”.


In 1972, Citizen’s State Bank decided to expand their bank and build a new building. They approached the Cheney City Council in November of 1971 about purchasing the two-story building to house the City Library and municipal offices for $14,000. The item was tabled for the next few years. The Council minutes from May 31, 1973 state, “At an informal meeting it was agreed to by the Council that the City would buy the old bank building. City agreed to trade the present city building for the old bank building for a difference of $8,000.”

The bank vaults that were once believed to be “enough vault space to last forever” were soon turned into storage rooms and offices. The Library occupied the front half of the old 2,175 sq foot bank building and the city office consumed the back half, which was once used as a beauty salon and a display room for caskets. Agreements were set between the Library Board and the City Council as to what remodeling would be done inside the building. The Library reused the ‘modernized’ bank countertops and the City office utilized the 1958 night depository.


Funding was limited for the library at this time. It was noted in the February 28, 1974 council minutes that the Library approached the City Council and asked for a 1+ mill levy, so they could stay in the South Central Kansas Library Association. For the next 20+ years, both entities would share the historical building until May 11, 2000 when the Cheney City Council approved the purchase of yet another historical 2-story building directly south of their existing location. The new purchase would provide approximately 6,000 square feet of additional space for a new City Hall, Council Chambers and Police Department. The Library would remain in the original building and would remodel to ensure the use of the entire main floor of their building. On Sept 17th, 2001 the City offices were moved across the street and Cheney Public Library was given full access to their current building.


But as Cheney continues to grow, a building that was once thought to provide adequate space for a library, has been facing multiple problems. One, as the community expands and new books become available, the Library has had to sell books that are only a few years old in order to make room for newer books. Two, the Library has become more of a resource center for the community, which requires more space for technology and advancement in services. There has been a great need in our community to provide a space, along with an atmosphere, that works for all ages to utilize.


The Cheney Public Library only had to look up for the answer to their much needed expansion. The library board had a vision to double the size of their library and expand their library upstairs into bigger and greater things. At that time, the upstairs of the library was unfinished and being used as storage by the City of Cheney.


The Library Board and Director Susan Woodard proposed an increase in their mill levy from 3.335 to 4.681 in July of 2012 in preparation for the 2013 budget. The library had not seen an increase to the mill levy in eight years. The proposed revenue increase would allow the library to make a loan payment and pay for increased operating costs. Along with the mill levy increase, the library board proposed a $212,000 plan to expand the library to the second floor of their building. Of the $212,000, the library used $40,000 from its reserve fund and borrowed $172,000 from the City of Cheney’s utility funds.


City Administrator Randall Oliver believed that by loaning the library funds from the utility reserves, it would benefit both the library and the city. Oliver stated that “it would allow the library to borrow money below market rates, yet give the city a higher rate of return than it otherwise could earn on the money.” The loan between the Library and City was set up on a five year balloon note, amortized over 20 years. The City had cash available in a certificate of deposit, making 1.2% interest and offered to loan the library the funds at 3% interest. It was figured that the City would see an increase in interest revenue of $16,824.47 over the first 5 years of the balloon note.

The Cheney City Council approved the 2013 budget and funding for the library project. Construction began on the library project in March 2013. Director Woodard spent many hours discussing the plans with the architect. She played a major role in ensuring the project was completed economically and with classy style. The project allowed for the young adult section, adult nonfiction and high-speed computers to be moved upstairs. It also allowed for more room on the lower level for the children’s section to be revamped with an increase of hands on interactive manipulatives, which includes an Early Literacy Station computer (ELS). The ELS computer was paid for through a grant provided by the State Library of Kansas. In the upstairs renovation, a coffee bar, and study area were also added. The complete renovation features an elevator, security system, wi-fi, and original woodwork from the early 1900’s.


The library seen an outpouring of donations from the Cheney community and has received over $30,000 in private donations. The donations allowed the library to complete additional upgrades in their project. The final project is estimated at $226,700, with only $172,000 being financed through the City of Cheney. Donations continue to be collected as new people are amazed everyday by the transformation of the library.


Construction was completed at the beginning of September 2013. An open house was held on September 14, 2013 with hundreds of community members attending. Over the past month, the library has already seen an increase from 40 to over 100 patrons a day. Patrons have also extended their library stay from 10 minutes to 2-3 hours because the library now offers an inviting atmosphere for reading, studying, and family oriented activities. The entire community has seen the benefit from the library expansion with the activities that can now be offered in the additional space and the amenities it delivers to those outside the City of Cheney. In the first month of the project being completed, a book signing, women’s group luncheon, tutoring services, out of town wi-fi users, homeschoolers, and young adult book club group have taken advantage of the new space.


The Cheney Public Library Building has been a dominate fixture on Main Street for the past 108 years and while looking at the historic woodwork, the modern fixtures turn the century old building into a contemporary service for generations to come. The City of Cheney staff and residents are thankful for the creative visioning of the Library Board, Director, and staff.

Volunteers Galore- Cheney, KS- By Danielle Young, Cheney City Clerk
Published in the Kansas Government Journal- May 2013

 

Cheney, Kansas- population 2,094 sits in the far western section of Sedgwick County. It is positioned two miles south of Highway 54 and to most, it is viewed as a small thriving community. Few people have probably ever taken the 383rd St Exit into Cheney unless searching for a popular destination, like a high school sporting event, Lubbers Chevrolet or Ford, or visiting the Sedgwick County Fair. But if you were to take that narrow county blacktop two miles south, you would find a quiet community full of pride and volunteers. And these volunteers are making things happen in this wonderful community.

 

Community Service Day

About ten years ago the City of Cheney and Cheney schools partnered together to help make Cheney a better community. Each spring junior high and high school students participate in Community Service Day. This day has been beneficial in helping the City complete large projects that would otherwise not be possible without the help of several volunteers. The day also gives the students a sense of community pride as they can be proud of accomplishing these tasks.

 

Students have helped complete several projects over the years, such as painting house numbers on curbs, painting fire hydrants, scraping and painting historical buildings at Souders Museum, completing projects at the Sedgwick County Fairgrounds and Cheney State Park, painting at the Senior Center, and doing yard work at churches and private homes. Each year the students pick trash up along the roadways leading into town and they also paint a 3,200 ft long pipe fence around the City's 18 hole golf course.

In 2012, students helped city staff landscape a large area around a new concrete “Cheney” sign located on Highway 54. The project included planting trees, shrubs, laying a large area of weed barrier, and spreading five dump truck loads of cedar mulch.

This past year, Cheney High School art students created an underwater scene and painted the mural on the 1950’s concrete block pool house. City staff contacted art teacher Shawny Montgomery early in the school year to see about completing the mural. High school art students put together a sketch of an underwater scene which included a sunken boat, seahorses, shark, and a snorkeling Cheney Cardinal. Artists graced the concession stand area on the south side of the bathhouse with the presence of a giant purple octopus holding snacks.  Although the project took longer to complete than just the normal four hours on Community Service Day, students were glad to volunteer extra time to make sure the mural was completed. The mural has not only brought character to the pool, but has given the students something to be proud of and community members something to enjoy.

 

Street Signs

Cheney High School students were also instrumental on helping create new street signs for the west side of town. The original signs were 40-year old painted metal signs that were becoming hard to read. In March 2012, the City asked high school teacher Todd Hague if high school students would be interested in helping create 67 replacement street signs. Hague stated, “It’s a cool thing, I think, for us to do something we can take some ownership in. We were also able to save the city some money by making them ourselves. ” After researching MUTCD specs, details for the signs were finalized, and aluminum sign blanks were ordered. Cheney High School students then used a laser engraver to cut out the letters for each street name. They then placed the cut vinyl letters on the blank aluminum signs. (The laser engraver is also used by students to create license plates, which are sold by the Cardinal Booster Club.) The street sign project was then finished by Nic Molyneux, who erected each new sign on a bracket for his Eagle Scout project.

 

Make A Difference Day

Since beginning in 1993, Make A Difference Day has held a basket auction and served hamburgers and hotdogs, Art’s and Mary’s chips, and cookies as a way to make a difference in the community. A free will donation for the supper is given to the Cheney Emergency Fund, which helps Cheney families and individuals in need.  Baskets are donated by local businesses and individuals and then auctioned off to the highest bidder. Over the past 20 years, the event has raised money to build a kitchen and bathroom, install an air conditioner, purchase new tables and chairs, and install a sound system at the Farm Bureau Building on the Sedgwick County Fairgrounds. Money has stayed local by purchasing a new digital sign on Main Street, helping the Cheney High School Student Council purchase presents for those in need, and helping the library with their construction project.  But funds have also reached out beyond Cheney and gone towards Hurricane Disaster Relief, the Wichita Salvation Army, and the Red Cross.

 

 

In 2007 the committee took it upon themselves to revamp Budd Park, located ½ block off of Main Street. Over four years, the event raised $19,218.88 from their event alone. They solicited over $10,000 in donations from local businesses and individuals. They also raised money by selling 88 engraved bricks and creating a “Kids in the Kitchen” cookbook of favorite recipes submitted by kids and grandparents in the community. Throughout their efforts and donations, Make A Difference was able to raise $34,766.45, which was enough money to purchase new playground equipment, including a new teeter totter, handicap swing, pour a concrete sidewalk around the perimeter, and lay the engraved bricks. The City of Cheney was able to help complete the project by applying for and being awarded the KDHE Waste Tire Mulch Grant, which paid for 50% of the $25,477 worth of rubber mulch. In total, the City was able to receive over $60,000 in park improvements for less than $13,000. The project was successful because of the donations and generosity of citizens and businesses and would not have otherwise been completed.

 

Golf Course Improvements

The City of Cheney takes pride in their municipal 18-hole golf course, Cherry Oaks, and it is evident that their citizens share the same pride. In 2005, the City took over the management of the course and construction on the back nine of Cherry Oaks began. Since then, volunteers have donated time and money to complete vital projects on the course.

 

In 2013, concrete was poured and 12 new driving range mats found at new home at Cherry Oaks. The entire project was funded through local sponsorships. The project was completed just in time for Kansas high school golfers to use during the 3A Regional Golf and 4A State Golf Championship Tournament.

 

A local committee, Friends of Cherry Oaks, holds an annual golf tournament which helps fund golf course improvements. Since 2005, over $150,000 has been raised through the golf tournament and has provided funds to plant over 200 trees, build a pavilion, make clubhouse improvements, continue landscaping around tee boxes, and concrete cart paths on the Back Nine. Not only have donations funded the concrete cart paths, but volunteers have helped lay the many feet of concrete. Committee member John Mies noted “There’s no way we could do these kinds of improvements without private input into the course. What makes this happen is the generosity of the community.” Other private donations total over $30,000 in improvements and have been used for bridges, a scoreboard, concrete wall, and landscaping. All improvements have been completed with not only donated funds, but also donated time and labor from volunteers dedicated to making Cherry Oaks a destination golf course.

 

Veteran’s Memorial

Six brick walls create a semi-circle behind the Howitzer Cannon in Veteran’s Park along Main Street in Cheney. On those walls, more than 400 names of Cheney area Veterans are engraved in granite. Flagpoles with the various branches of the US military fly in the background. American Legion Post 295 proposed constructing a memorial in June 2011 and estimated that it would take approximately three years to raise the $30,000. In just 18 months from the birth of the idea, through hard work and determination, the memorial was completed and dedicated on Veteran’s Day November 10, 2012. Legion members received over $18,000 in personal donations and raised additional money through poker runs and a soup supper. Post 295 Commander Jim Meyer stated, “I get to see a community that has been recognizing their veterans more and more every year. But this elevates it to the point where we show our appreciation to our past veterans that have been through the great wars. It also gives hope to our future veterans and community of what our country is all about, and that’s freedom to choose whatever we want to do as Americans. I just can’t say enough about the Cheney community.”

 

Aluminum Can Fun

After a new swimming pool was voted ‘no’ by locals, Cheney High School student Trevor Frank had an idea in 2002. If everyone joined together to recycle their aluminum cans, the money could go towards funding a new swimming pool. Since that idea, almost $18,000 has been raised through recycled aluminum. In 2011, the City of Cheney decided a new pool would not be feasible and asked Frank if the money could be used in another way to improve the pool, so a spiral water slide was purchased. Although recycling amounts have decreased due to curbside recycling, aluminum continues to be cashed in and stashed away for new ideas at the municipal swimming pool. The new pool slide is a constant reminder of how something so small, such as a pop can, can lead to greater improvements.

 

Among the Others

There are many additional groups and individuals around Cheney that have their own niche in helping give back.  Cheney’s local ESA Chapter- Eta Theta runs the ballgame concession stand to raise funds which are then distributed to local, state and national charities. Each year Eta Theta gives to St. Jude’s and Heartspring, but in Cheney they help purchase toys for those on the Angel tree and provide funds to the Emergency Fund to purchase food for their Easter meal distribution. Eta Theta also sponsors a Red Cross Blood Drive. The numerous church members and youth groups cannot be overlooked for their volunteer efforts either, as they have completed hours of work at Souders Historical Museum, projects at the Senior Center, and countless other acts of kindness.

 

Cheney is proud to say it has not only seen a steady growth in population over the past few years, but it has seen an increase of projects being completed through the help of volunteers. Volunteers often come in all shapes and sizes, but in Cheney they come in large quantities.

(Photos and Quotes were provided by Times Sentinel Newspaper in Cheney, KS)

Rolling out a Toilet Paper Campaign

Cheney, Kansas is merely a short 20 minute journey down a four-lane highway from the largest city in Kansas. Think about it. Any item we wish to purchase or anything we wish to eat is at our fingertips within a matter of minutes. But how many of these items can also be found locally?

With the recent opening of Wal-Mart in Goddard, I started thinking about the impact this national chain could have on Cheney and I am scared to think about what might happen to our locally owned businesses. Currently, our Main Street is vibrant with every commercial building full. But as ‘the city’ continues to creep westward we need to be reminded what Goddard lost a year ago…their local grocery store. Can you begin to imagine not having a local grocery store, hardware store, or any of our other locally owned businesses in Cheney? It’s sad to say, but if Cheney residents continue to overlook what is offered locally- it could happen.

I recently read the article “A Toilet Paper Movement” in the January 7, 2013 edition of the Hi-Plains Journal. The article talked about the Chamber of Greater Franklin County in Hampton, Iowa and its buy local campaign. This got me thinking that the residents of Cheney could easily do the same simple task…buy their toilet paper locally. Let’s face it, toilet paper is the one thing that all of us need and none of us can make an excuse about purchasing. It’s a necessity and our local grocery store carries a variety.

A study found that the average person uses about 105 rolls of toilet paper each year. At an average cost of $.60 per roll, and with 2,094 people in Cheney, that comes to roughly $131,922 being spent each year on toilet paper sales by the citizens of Cheney to purchase 219,870 rolls of toilet paper. Sadly, Jim’s Foodliner reported that he sold approximately 33,367 rolls of toilet paper in Cheney in 2012, or in other words our local retailer missed out on selling 186,503 rolls of toilet paper. That’s a whopping $111,901 in lost sales.

Most people think they can save money by buying their toilet paper in Wichita. So I did a price comparison between Jim’s Foodliner and Sam’s Club. Sam’s toilet paper is .52/roll. Jim’s Foodliner frequently has sales on their toilet paper and it can be purchased at prices varying from .42/roll to .60/roll, plus Jim’s accepts and doubles coupons!

In fact, I’ve price compared several items to our local grocery store. Recently, I saw a post that a friend had saved 47% on their groceries at a Wichita retailer. So when I did my grocery shopping last week at Jim’s Foodliner, I kept track of the original prices of the items I purchased and found I saved 44%! And the nice thing about my local savings is that my groceries were carried to my car, I had a minute of commute time, no money was spent for gas, and I didn’t have to worry about my ice cream melting before I got home.

Shopping local should matter to each of us because the $111,901 in lost toilet paper sales could have generated sales tax that would go back into funding local services. Services such as our local fire and police departments, city parks, senior center, and streets. Not to mention a large part of that sales tax goes to Topeka, which in return funds our schools. More importantly, these local sales help support the businesses that donate to local organizations and generate jobs in our community, employing local people.

In conclusion, I’m not asking everyone to stop going to Wichita. I’m simply saying that we can start a movement by purchasing our toilet paper from our local grocery store. I’m asking you to look at what your local stores have to offer before making that journey elsewhere. If we all start by purchasing one item locally, perhaps it can lead to a larger movement and we can save our local businesses.

Article posted in the Times Sentinel Newspaper 2-28-13 by Danielle Young (Chamber Board member and City Clerk)
Sedgwick County Hazardous Mitigation Plan

Regional Hazard Mitigation Plan

            Servicing the Counties of: Rice, McPherson, Marion, Reno, Harvey, Butler, Sedgwick, Kingman, Harper, Sumner, Cowley

The federal government requires all states and local governments to have hazard mitigation plans, approved by FEMA, that are consistent with the Disaster Mitigation Act of 2000 (DMA 2000). This is required to maintain eligibility for certain types of federal disaster assistance, such as pre-disaster and post-disaster mitigation funding.

For the past few months the planning committee officials have been drafting the Regional Mitigation Plan, and now seek public comment and review. This plan is intended to identify feasible strategies to reduce the potential loss of life, human suffering, and loss of property from natural disasters, such as floods, snow and ice storms, tornados, and power outages.

Your input is very important to this process and we ask that you take a few moments to review the material below and complete the short questionnaire provided on the link below.

Hazard Rankings – for the Regional Mitigation Plan the following hazards were ranked as the top 10. Remember, this is for all of the counties that make up Region G, not each county separately. So, while Reno County may have a high incidence of wildfire, Sedgwick county may not (hypothetical). But averaged together they would meet in the middle on the ranking. These rankings were based on the probability, magnitude, warning time, and duration that potentially could be realized.

1. Tornado                                                      6. Utility/Infrastructure Failure

2. Winter Storm                                              7. Hailstorm

3. Flood                                                          8. Hazardous Materials

4. Windstorm                                                  9. Major Disease Outbreak

5. Wildfire                                                       10.Extreme Temperatures

 

Previous 10 FEMA Disasters that have affected Region G:

 

Disaster Number

Declaration Date

Description of Disaster

4063

2012

Severe Storms/Tornadoes, FL

4010

2011

Severe Storms/Tornadoes, FL

1932

2010

Severe Storms/Tornadoes/ FL

1849

2009

Severe Storms/Tornadoes/ FL

1848

2009

Severe Storms/Tornadoes/ FL

1808

2008

Severe Storms/Tornadoes/ FL

1776

2008

Severe Storms/Tornadoes/ FL

1741

2008

Severe Winter Storms

1711

2007

Severe Storms/ Flooding

1699

2007

Severe Storms/Tornadoes/ FL

 

The following is a link to surveymonkey.com which has a short survey we encourage you to complete for inclusion in the Regional Hazard Mitigation Plan. Specifically, we are looking for   information on local issues that each identified hazard could potentially aggravate.

 

https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/WZWWSS9


Local Area Weather
Counter