Vol. 3, Issue 2                                         February 2018
Smart Economic Development is Good for Region
A community’s growth can sometimes blossom organically such as what we have seen here in the City of Derby. Derby’s motto, “the place to be” is certainly true. We enjoy growth most other communities are trying to mimic. When I first moved here in 1972, I remember that Derby was known as the city with a single stoplight. Since then, Derby’s population has grown by more than 300%.  

As a thriving city, Derby is experiencing higher quality of life, increasing property values, more construction, new businesses, and lower unemployment. That should be a badge of honor to our city leaders as they have done an amazing job. 

However, for most communities, economic growth is not so organic. It becomes imperative that policy-makers look for opportunities to spur economic development coupled with vigilance to not lose ground. Done correctly, the economic development benefit to a community goes far and wide. Remember the adage, “a rising tide lifts all ships”. 

We know that other communities vie for the attention of companies like Spirit AeroSystems, Textron Aviation, Cargill, and Boeing. Some companies such as Cargill and Boeing look elsewhere because ultimately, they can do their operation anywhere and aspects such as quality-of-life, the ability to attract and retain talent, and ultimately make more profit are critical decision points. Dozens of communities are promising the earth for conglomerates like Amazon HQ2 to choose their city. Some of the incentive packages being offered by many of those cities is staggering and the Return On Investment seems questionable. 

We need to be smart about economic development. Some of the ideas are meritorious and others, not so much. Proposals must be carefully analyzed. We need to consider the ROI, the promise for capital investment, projection for new and retained jobs, and any additional cost to government. It is important that each economic development opportunity be vetted against principles that protect the taxpayer and the agreement should have careful clawback provisions to hold the company accountable should they fail to deliver on their promises. Done correctly, we can help create jobs, protect the taxpayer, and entice decision makers to choose to invest here verses some other place or not at all.  

In the last month, with the county being smart about economic development, the region’s job forecast and capital investment are better than they have been in a long, long time. Now, if Derby could just get a steakhouse! 
County officials seek support for North Junction Interchange
Sedgwick County officials joined a number of community partners including the City of Wichita and the Wichita Regional Chamber of Commerce in Topeka, KS to rally support for infrastructure improvements, specifically support for the Wichita North Junction Interchange (at I-135, I-235, K-254, and K-96). The main interchange was built in the 1960s and 1970s; K-96 was added in the 1990s. Today, more than 93,000 vehicles use the North Junction and by 2050, traffic counts are expected to be more than 160,000 vehicles per day through it. According to the Kansas Highway Patrol, there is an average of four crashes per week at this junction.

Chairman David Dennis said, “This is a dire situation and the interchange needs immediate attention for the safety of residents who use it today and who will use it in the years to come.” After meeting with the Kansas Department of Transportation, County leaders are encouraged that the first phase of the project will begin as soon as next year.

“What we need now is for citizens to reach out when and where they can to their congressmen, senators, and state legislators, to let these officials know how important this project is to them,” stated Commissioner Dave Unruh. This interchange is important to the safety of the South Central Kansas region, success of the local economy, and to maintain the quality of life residents enjoy.”

A brief video regarding this can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JXbuHnoW2e4
Commissioners join county leaders for 2019 budget retreat
Sedgwick County recently kicked off its 2019 budget development cycle. County leaders received an economic outlook of the county from Jeremy Hill who shared that the economic growth is still slower than other metropolitan areas and states. They heard that the organization is in sound financial condition with exceptional ratings from credit rating agencies. Additionally, they learned that there are factors that may make it difficult for programs to operate at the same level in the future due to potential changes coming from the State.  

Commissioners will conduct budget hearings in May with the Manager’s Recommended Budget scheduled for mid-July. Tentatively there will be two public hearings before commissioners adopt the 2019 budget in mid-August. More details will come as budget development continues. 
February is Children’s Dental Health Month: Practice good oral health early
In 2017, the Sedgwick County Division of Health (SCDOH) Children’s Dental Clinic provided free preventive and restorative services to 335 uninsured, low-income children. The clinic also provided school screenings to more than 17,450 children in Sedgwick County schools, and identified 914 children who had emergency needs. Tooth decay is the single most prevalent disease in children. It not causes pain in the mouth and can lead to poor overall health and even difficulty learning. 

February marked National Children’s Dental Health Month, which serves as a reminder to prevent dental cavities by practicing good oral health early – even before babies get teeth – and continuing to do so throughout adulthood. These practices, along with following this year’s slogan of “Brush your teeth with fluoride toothpaste and clean between your teeth for a healthy smile,” will help ensure proper oral health for children: 

  • Clean babies’ gums with a soft infant toothbrush or cloth and water.
  • Avoid nursing babies to sleep and put only water in a bedtime bottle.
  • Visit a pediatric dentist by a baby’s first birthday and twice a year every year following.
  • Floss and brush primary, or “baby,” teeth twice daily using fluoridated toothpaste and a soft, small toothbrush.
  • Most children may begin flossing and brushing their own teeth, while supervised, when they can tie their shoes.
  • Serve children fruits and vegetables. You’ve heard it before, but proper nutrition is good for children’s bodies and their oral health.
  • Stop the pop! Soda, and even too much juice, can lead to dental cavities. If children occasionally drink these beverages or eat sugary foods, they should brush their teeth immediately after. 
Crews continue to work on the Kellogg/ I-235 interchange rebuild. This first phase is scheduled to be completed in 2019.
Update on Kellogg/ 235 interchange
Project updates can be found at www.235red.org and include:

  • This week, the two right lanes of east and west bound US 53 west of I-235 were restriped.
Projects in District 5
Pedestrian Crosswalk Signal on MacArthur between Hillside and Oliver (R347)
  • Work to commence by March 19, 2018
  • Expected to be complete by late March to mid-April 2018
EMS supports U.S. Olympic team
Did you catch the XXIII Olympic Winter Games in South Korea? Sedgwick County EMS participated in a flag raising ceremony late last year to support the U.S. Olympic bobsled and skeleton teams who competed in PyeongChang. First responders across the U.S. participated in this flag relay to demonstrate teamwork and resilience. The flag was flown for one day at each location and traveled across the country before arriving in South Korea for the competitions. 
Commissioners support Spirit AeroSystems' new Center of Excellence
Recently, Spirit AeroSystems announced its 5-Axis machining Center of Excellence. Commissioners were able to attend this event and offer their support to the company in this endeavor. This facility will allow the company to utilize high-speed technology to create aerospace parts to accommodate new work and sustain current customer contracts.  
Visit INTRUST Bank Arena for Open Practice Day - March 14
On Wednesday, March 14, basketball fans are invited to watch the open practices for all eight teams competing in the first round of the 2018 NCAA® Division I Men’s Basketball Championship at INTRUST Bank Arena. Practice sessions will take place at INTRUST Bank Arena and run throughout the day from 11 a.m. to 6:20 p.m. with each team having 40 minutes to practice. 

Open Practice Day is free and open to the public and fans are permitted and encouraged to come and go throughout the day. Seating is general admission and merchandise and concession stands will be open. Doors will open at 10 a.m. and there is no ticket required to attend the open practice sessions. The first 1,500 fans in attendance will receive a free commemorative rally towel. Additionally, between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m., fans can receive a free refillable NCAA® Souvenir Cup with the purchase of an adult combo meal. 
Places to Visit
As the top outdoor family attraction in the State, the mission of the Sedgwick County Zoo is to inspire discovery, appreciation, and respect for animals and nature. It is home to 3,000 animals and nearly 400 species. The Reed Family Elephants of the Zambezi River Valley exhibit is the third largest elephant habitat in the United States. 
Exploration Place, Kansas’ premier science center, inspires a deeper interest in science through creative and fun experiences for people of all ages. Through its permanent and travelling exhibits, education programs, Digital Dome Theater films and special events, visitors can enjoy learning about science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. For example, the all-new, 5,100 square foot Design Build Fly exhibit celebrates our community’s aviation industry. Visitors encounter dozens of hands-on activities that focus on manufacturing and engineering to reveal what happens behind-the-scenes in our aircraft plants.   
The Kansas African American Museum endeavors to make the Kansas African American experience resonant with EVERY Kansan. Located in the venerable Calvary Baptist Church, visitors may expand their knowledge and understanding of the Kansas African American story. 
Residents and visitors can gain an understanding of our community and cultural heritage at the Wichita – Sedgwick County Historical Museum. By collecting, preserving, and interpreting materials which reflect the area’s heritage visitors can experience different facets that shaped the community we live in today.  
County Information
Contact  Commissioner Jim Howel l: 
316-660-9300
525 N. Main, Ste 320, Wichita, KS 67203
 
Contact Public Information Officer:
Kate Flavin, 316-660-9370
525 N. Main, Ste 343, Wichita, KS 67203
 
Contact Corporate Communications Manager:
316-660-9370
525 N. Main, Ste 343, Wichita, KS 67203