Mayor Lawrence's State of the City column
Our community should be very proud of what we accomplished in 2017. The project we are probably most excited about is the brand new Capitol Federal Amphitheater® and how much the community will benefit from it.
Construction on the Capitol Federal Amphitheater® started in early July and to date, only has some very minor cosmetic finishing to do. We couldn’t be happier with the design and how well it blends in with the surrounding buildings and natural features in the park. The Capitol Federal Amphitheater® will not only provide a versatile venue but a beautiful attraction for the Andover community. As a reminder, funding for the project primarily came from four sources; 1) Tower rental from cell phone companies 2) Fireworks tent rental fees 3) Liquor tax and 4) Hotel bed tax.
In August, we announced a 10-year deal for naming rights with Capitol Federal®. The $750,000 sponsorship will be paid in annual installments over the course of the 10-year agreement and the official name of the amphitheater is Capitol Federal Amphitheater®.
Westar Energy will also be credited for “Powering the Amphitheater” by agreeing to provide the needed infrastructure to the site as an in-kind donation.
The City’s Event Director, Katie Cork, has been hard at work since coming on board in October. We are very close to having all of the musical acts booked for our inaugural Summer Concert Series. This year, we are planning on having 4 concerts. Two of those concerts will require a fee for admission and the other two will be free to the public. Katie is also currently looking for businesses interested in partnering with us, helping to sponsor the 2018 Summer Concert Series, and receiving exposure to 30,000 patrons. If you are interested, make sure to contact Katie at 316.977.9439.
Keep your eyes and ears open as we will be announcing our 2018 Summer Concert Series line up in the coming months. Make sure to “like” Capitol Federal Amphitheater® on Facebook, Follow Capitol Federal Amphitheater on Instagram and CapFedTheater on Twitter.
Besides culture and entertainment, another area of focus for 2017 was on the various parks in our community. At Central Park, we added lighting to the parking lot near the playground so citizens feel safer while visiting the park during the early morning or evening hours. We remodeled the 13th Street Sports Park Baseball/Softball diamonds, replacing fence guards, scoreboards, distance markers and foul poles. We’re confident the teams who play there will appreciate the strides we have made to make it a fantastic facility. The Redbud Trail also received some attention as the City took over management of the trail going east from Meadowlark to US Highway 400. This rural section is still being worked on and will be open in 2018 for cyclists and runners to utilize.
Our city continues to be a desirable location to move to. With 95 residential new builds and 5 commercial businesses popping up, we are continuing to grow. Current residents and commercial businesses are also taking advantage of our Neighborhood Revitalization Program. In 2017, 42 residential projects as well as 4 commercial projects were part of the program.
The City finished 2017 in terrific financial shape. Projections show that the .75% Sales Tax approved in April of 2015 will end in December of this year, a full 21 months earlier than scheduled! Once again we have been awarded a “AA” rating from S&P, making the City of Andover one of the highest rated municipalities in Kansas and amongst the very top for cities under 25,000 in population. Lastly, for the 38th year in a row, we received recognition for excellence in Financial Reporting from the Government Finance Officers Association. That’s a tremendous track record!
With 2017 in the books, we are looking forward to 2018 and the excitement and partnerships that will come along with it. We will be co-hosting with GoWichita, the National Fireworks Association National Convention. This will have a positive economic impact on many of our businesses. Plus, the public will get to attend a fireworks display which will leave you speechless! We plan on working with community partners, USD 385 and the Andover YMCA, to conduct a recreation survey to make sure we are offering the types of programs our citizens desire. Progress will also continue to be made on the Redbud Trail with the help of the Andover Augusta Rail Trail Initiative volunteers who give so much time to help keep the trail clear. With the wonderful community partnerships fostered through annual festivities including the Police and Fire Festival, Greater Andover Days, and Hometown Christmas, it makes me proud to be a member of this town. I don’t know about you but I am ready to get “Amped In Andover”!