ARLINGTON – With a new administration, the city of Arlington has decided to focus on something its predecessors didn’t – long-term planning.
Mayor Jeff Fountain said the City Council has been focusing its efforts on accepting where the town is at, where it needs to be and how the town can fund future projects, all while being cognizant of the town’s citizens who are fixed-income.
“It’s a challenge for these small communities to keep our tax amounts down, our mill levies down, while staying on top of infrastructure issues,” Fountain said.
Repairs to the town’s sewer and water services are needed, he added, and are the town’s top priority at the moment.
Arlington has a couple of these projects planned with hopes to have bids sometime this calendar year.
The last administration replaced a block of sidewalks on West Main Street, where its businesses are located. Fountain said that while it may not be a big project for many towns, it was for Arlington.
The city has also discussed redoing more sidewalks in the future.
Kelsi Depew, community progress planner for the city, said there are two new businesses in town, and one moved into the old hardware store along Main Street. Within the last year, Farm and Fancy moved in. It still has basic hardware materials but is a thrift store with clothes, home décor and furniture as well.
“It’s exciting for the community to have two new stores,” Depew said.
The city is hoping more businesses move in and take advantage of the growing economy downtown, as more spaces are still available along Main Street.
Rooms are for rent inside the Arlington Community Center, at 900 W. Main St. in the town’s old grade school. Small businesses can get a foothold in this “incubator of sorts” location, Depew said.
Arlington Market, the town’s second new business, is a consignment store with local arts and crafts, as well as vintage and antique items. Depew said the store just made sense with the discovery of the town’s real arts-and-crafts talent.
A community planning committee has been directing its efforts toward bringing additional community events, including an annual craft show, holiday events and even a new dancing event.
Pretty Prairie resident Rod Krehbiel will be the caller for the town’s first-ever Contra Dance in late March. Depew hopes the event will be such a success that it will continue monthly.
While she hasn’t participated in this spontaneous dance before, she said it’s related to square dancing and a few people know it as barn dancing.
The idea for the dance arose out of learning that a large group of residents drive all the way to Wichita for the dance. People from Hutchinson and Yoder are also interested in attending.
“We are a small town with what quiet, country-living people look for, but with many big-town perks. Our restaurants, churches, businesses and community center make it possible to enjoy many of the things that you would only find in a bigger town,” Depew said.