The spirit of cooperation filled the air Monday at the Leavenworth Riverfront Community Center as groups gathered for the Leavenworth County Development Corporation’s strategic roundtable discussion.
At the meeting were government officials from the county and cities as well as representatives from Fort Leavenworth, members of the LCDC, the Leavenworth County Port Authority and representatives from different area business and other organizations.
Early in the meeting the different municipal entities spoke about the development of their comprehensive plan for expansion and some of the things they’ve done to implement their plan.
Leavenworth County Commissioner J.C. Tellefson noticed that the cities were expanding without much conflict, which hasn’t always been the case, he said.
“You guys are moving south, you guys are moving west and the county is just trying to stay out of everybody’s way,” Tellefson said. “This is happening instead of everybody drawing a line around their town.
“This is a huge opportunity for us to all be meeting and recognize we aren’t competing with each other.”
Jack Walker, deputy to the garrison commander, agreed and said good relationships with surrounding cities was vital to the many military families who live outside of the fort and almost all civilians employed by the fort do as well. This was to improve the quality of life of the soldier and employees.
“It’s important to us as we look to coopering with the cities where they actually live,” he said.
LCDC President Tony Kramer wanted to know how his organization could continue that spirit of cooperation. He asked the different municipalities to talk about their strengths and weaknesses to see if one group could help another.
High on the list of strengths for many of the cities was the quality of life it was able to provide for its residents, but retail recruitment still was a weakness shared by many.
John Engelmann, the meetings facilitator and regional manager of economic development for Kansas City Power and Light, suggested cooperating as a county to bring in retail instead of vying for it individually.
“I think the push is to be more regional in focus and you are going to be more successful that way,” he said.