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Progress 2013: Downtown Ellis sites in demand

The city of Ellis maintains a strong presence in Ellis County and continues to see an increase in population based on current census figures.

With this continued growth comes increased student numbers in the school system, which strains the district's facilities. Ellis USD 388 officials are proposing a bond issue to address the needs of the district. The educational district in Ellis is top level with dedicated staff and high student achievement ratings.

New housing starts continue in Ellis and in the rural areas of Ellis County, which bolsters the population count and property tax base.

Several local downtown businesses in Ellis continue to remodel and expand. One business recently purchased an empty downtown storefront and completely modernized it to service their customer needs. Another empty building recently was purchased and remodeled by a local couple and is now a restaurant/diner, which entices locals and visitors to the downtown area. Another remodeled building is being used as a gathering place for kids and adults alike to enjoy leisure time, entertainment and snacks. This business also sells office and school supplies. Two local businessmen purchased a former doctor's office building downtown and created expanded office space. Most recently, the "Union Pacific Shop Building" has been released by Ellis County and now is being refitted into a welding, powder coating and oil field support business. Ellis residents are happy to see the historical railroad building being used and preserved. A local educator has turned another downtown location into a "mini school" where tutoring and educational enhancement for children is taking place. An Ellis auto restoration business has been upgrading its downtown building back to the original look of years gone by. The golf course has restructured and reorganized the facilities and continues to be one of the finest grass green courses in the state of Kansas. Food and drink from the restaurant also are available to the patrons. A variety of other businesses continue to serve Ellis and area residents.

All municipalities and agricultural interests are plagued by issues concerning drought and diminishing water levels at this time. As we all cooperate together, we can weather this current inconvenience. The Ellis County economy always has been driven by agricultural interests. New and renewed oil exploration in the county helps the retail business community and provides many employment opportunities.

Ellis County continues as a strong and stable force in western Kansas. A strong work ethic gives Ellis and Ellis County residents a powerful advantage to build success for the future.

David R. McDaniel is mayor of the city of Ellis.