In rural communities, the health of residents and economic growth go hand-in-hand. To economically thrive, a community must have an eye for building an environment that residents want to live in, raise their families and people want to move to.
One aspect is to have a community that offers residents the chance to walk and bike on safe and accessible sidewalks.
“I lost 75 lbs. from walking and I’ve kept it off,” said Arlene Lickiss, resident and avid walker in Stafford. “I walk 5-6 days a week, often with my dog. Walking changed my life, I am healthier physically and mentally.”
Carolyn Dunn, Executive Director for Stafford County Economic Development, and Leadership Chair for Live Well Stafford County, is well-versed about the economic, safety, health and community benefits that safe and accessible sidewalks offer in a community.
“Where do people want to live and work? A place that’s downtrodden and sick, or vibrant and healthy? We are committed to building a community that is economically viable, vibrant and healthy,” says Dunn.
With several Kansas communities working to improve sidewalks across the state, Live Well Stafford County was rewarded a $125,000 grant from the Kansas Health Foundation. A local city engineer has identified sidewalks in desperate need of repair in Stafford and has provided street improvement recommendations for Stafford’s Master Walk/Bike Plan. LWSC continues to be committed to improving the health of the community, today and for future generations.
About the Live Well Stafford County
Live Well Stafford County is a volunteer-based health coalition dedicated to improving the health of all Stafford County residents by building local infrastructure that supports walking and biking to maximize safety, economic, accessibility and environmental benefits. LWSC is invested in community education to promote healthy lifestyles and improve the overall quality of life for all residents.
BY COLE REIF posted on www.greatbendpost.com on April 28, 2016
The perennial issue that many small communities have been facing for years is a declining population. The Stafford County Economic Development staff is looking to curb that problem by attracting young entrepreneurs with a Launch Pad Business Incubator in St. John.
Stafford County Eco Devo Executive Director Carolyn Dunn says the goal is to help grow young businesses by providing them with necessary support and financial services.
The business incubator concept is to build a two-story building in downtown St. John that will be 30’ x 45’. The bottom floor will have an open floor concept to conduct business and top floor would feature an apartment for the entrepreneur to live. Stafford County Eco Devo will also provide mentoring and help establish beginning sales while the business owner is in the incubator.
Dunn noted their plan is to eventually graduate the business entrepreneur out of the incubator once they have established themselves and bring in a fresh business idea. An article from Business News Daily stated that 84 percent of companies that graduate from an incubator stay in the community.
Dunn estimated it would cost $100,000 to construct the building near the intersection of 2ndStreet and Main Street. Eco Devo received roughly $55,000 in grant money from the state and Golden Belt Community Foundation to construct the business incubator and plan for volunteer help. Eco Devo will dedicate the remaining funds needed.
Applications are being accepted for those interested in beginning their business at the St. John incubator.
Stafford County Economic Development
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