Archive for Wednesday, May 7, 2003

Our View: Project a welcome addition to the city

May 7, 2003

What a difference three years can make.

In just a few days, Tonganoxie will mark the third anniversary of a tornado that catapulted over Hubbel Hill and down into town.

Homes west of Tonganoxie sustained heavy damage, and the interiors of many businesses along the city's main street were drenched with rainwater after their roofs blew off in the storm. Trees that a few hours before had stretched their leafy branches to the sky looked as if some unskilled fool had been let loose with a chainsaw.

Tonganoxie homes felt the brunt of the storm, as did classrooms at the elementary school.

The damage -- some how, some way -- seemed far worse than it was because Fourth Street was torn up. The city's main street was in the final stages of a reconstruction and beautification project.

Three years ago, downtown Tonganoxie looked anything but beautiful.

Now, however, the city is taking the flavor of its quaint downtown and stretching it west, in the direction of Hubbel Hill. Phase two of the beautification project is well under way, and it will encompass an area from Green Street all the way to the newly reconstructed intersection of U.S. 24 and Kansas 16 highways.

If the downtown project and the intersection work are any hint of what Fourth Street will look like by the end of the summer, Tonganoxie will have yet another reason to be proud. Just one look at other small towns in the area underscores how fortunate Tonganoxie is to have a viable -- and beautiful -- downtown.

And soon the western gateway to our town will offer visitors a welcoming introduction to our lovely city.

That gateway certainly could be more attractive if owners of the former gasoline stations on the southern corners would clean up their properties. Perhaps one of those corners could be established as a true "Welcome to Tonganoxie" corner. Perhaps a large, attractive garden area could be established, so that the area truly would reflect the beauty here in Tonganoxie. Such a project would be a logical extension of the downtown renovation, which has meant so much to this city.

Perhaps in another three years, Tonganoxie residents will be able to look at those corners and think how much progress has been made there, too.

In the meantime, who would have thought, that 36 short months after a destructive storm swept through town, the city's future would be so bright? Tonganoxie residents, of course.

These projects are testament to the vision that Tonganoxians have for their town. And that vision is far-sighted and right on target.

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