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Archive for Thursday, May 19, 2011

Dodge City official says town must take advantage of its history to continue growth

May 19, 2011

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— Dodge City is now the 14th largest city in the state of Kansas, taking Garden City's spot.

And it must take advantage of its national and international name recognition and heritage to continue making Dodge a destination, City Manager Ken Strobel said.

Strobel gave the state of the city address to a packed house at the Magouirk Conference Center Wednesday.

He said Dodge City's strengths are population, diversity and tourism but added that the city faces infrastructure and housing challenges.

While tourism is up 40 percent since 2007, housing is a shortfall for Dodge City.

The city addressed that problem with Rural Housing Incentive Districts, which aid developers in building housing within communities.

Recent updates in the revitalization were the 6th Street Apartments, Summerlawn Place, Wagon Wheel and Ave. A. There were also opportunities to revitalize neighborhoods on Avenues D and E.

But the districts aren't the only tool at the city's disposal when working to improve the housing situation, Strobel said.

Dodge City is looking at legislation on USDA Rural Development loans, and asked to add a category for cities that are under 50,000 and more than 100 miles from a metropolitan area, Strobel said.

Strobel pointed to the Wichita suburb of Maize, which is eligible for the USDA Rural Development loan, while Dodge City isn't under the current loan requirements.

Another challenge facing Dodge City is infrastructure, mainly sewer and water lines, he said.

Dodge's response to this challenge was the new water reclamation plant. It's 95 percent complete.

The city plans to take the reclaimed water from the facility and send it to Mariah Hills, saving the fresh water for other uses, Strobel said.

But the biggest message from Strobel's address is that Dodge City is moving forward and facing its challenges.

"The state of Dodge is pretty good. We are moving forward. There will be issues and we are not perfect," Strobel said. "If you hear people griping about Dodge City and what's wrong, step up and say what's right about Dodge City."

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