By ROBERT PIERCE
• Daily Leader
About two years ago, officials from the Liberal, Garden City, Dodge City and Ulysses chambers of commerce formed the Southwest Kansas Chambers of Commerce, a group that attempts to help regionalism in the area.
On Oct. 7, county, chamber and city officials from those four communities will meet in Garden City for an economic summit. The event will be from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. that day, and Liberal Chamber Director Rozelle Webb, who spoke to the Seward County Commission Monday, said she believes the summit will be an excellent opportunity for area leaders.
“We have some great speakers coming in from across the country, across the state, and I would just really like to encourage you to attend this meeting,” she said.
Some of those speakers include Patti Clark, the state director of the USDA Rural Division in Topeka, and Jeff Tucker, the associate director of the Advanced Manufacturing Institute in Manhattan.
“These people are all very good at regionalism,” Webb said. “We’re inviting the city and county chamber business people from all of our towns to come to this meeting. It should be a very good session. There is no fee for this, and a lunch will be provided for you.”
Topics for the summit include transportation, work force development, education, air service and energy on a regional basis.
“At the end of this session will be a time when we can prepare what Southwest Kansas wants to present to KDOT on Oct 27,” Webb said.
Officials from the Kansas Department of Transportation will be in Liberal on Oct. 27 to talk to local and area leaders about how they would like to spend state transportation money they have received from the agency.
“I think it’s very important we get together and decide in unity what we want to tell them that we want,” Webb said. “Garden and Dodge will both be there. I encourage you to be there and give your input because we certainly want to express what we want in Seward County.”
Webb said one of the topics KDOT will present is the expansion of U.S. Highway 83. She said that idea originally began with the concept of four-laning the highway from the Oklahoma state line to Garden City. Somehow, she said the project got changed to only go from Sublette to Garden City.
“I’d like to have a good showing there so that we encourage them to bring (U.S. 83) back down to the Oklahoma line where it should be,” Webb said. “That’s where most of the traffic is, and Sublette to Scott City doesn’t benefit anyone but Garden City. We need that taken back down to the state line so it’s from Liberal to Garden City.”