By Sam Jack
GARDEN PLAIN – A nonprofit organization called the Council of Hope wants to build a multi-purpose community center just outside Garden Plain, north of the intersection of W. Harry St. and Section Line Road.
According to a press release, the Council of Hope has secured five acres for the center, and has already raised $150,000.
Knights of Columbus was one of the groups that started the Council of Hope, but organizers are hoping to draw support from groups and individuals all over south central Kansas as they are preparing to start an fundraising campaign.
“We really hope it can be a hub for a lot of activities like bike races, cars shows – things that can benefit the south central Kansas area and bring people and families together,” said Mark Doyle, the Council of Hope’s president. “I think the activities stop at the western edge of Wichita in some cases, and we’d like to mirror some things that are done elsewhere. For example, at the Hutchinson Arts Center, they have a jazz and concert series that comes through three or four times a year, and it’s been very successful.”
In addition to concerts, the center would host graduations, family reunions, craft fairs, classes and lectures. The building is still being designed, but it would include multiple meeting spaces, with the largest holding up to 600 people.
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“While it is located next to Garden Plain, we want to make it very clear that this is an effort to bring events regionally to the likes of Andale, Conway Springs, Cheney of course, and potentially as far as Kingman,” Doyle said.
The Council of Hope had a table at Garden Plain’s Fourth of July festival earlier this week, and is planning to have a booth at the Sedgwick County Fair, in Cheney July 18-21. For more information on the group, visit www.councilofhope.com or call Doyle at 316-461-9202.