Cheney Chamber has first taker on downtown beautification grants


By Paul Rhodes

CHENEY – Members of the Cheney Chamber of Commerce heard from the first local business that wants to take advantage of a new grant program for downtown beautification.
The Chamber met last Tuesday for its regular monthly meeting, and United Insurance Group announced that it wants to take advantage of the $200 grant available through the local business group.
A Main Street Committee on downtown beautification efforts has been formed by the Chamber. In March, the committee proposed $200 grants for businesses to help spruce up their storefronts.
United Insurance is planning to purchase benches for the front of its business, and also for the Cheney Public Library located next door.
Local businesses also can take advantage of grants through the city of Cheney available for local residents and business owners that can be used to repair blighted properties. Those grants cover 50 percent of a project’s cost, up to $500.
In other business at last week’s meeting, the chamber:
• Noted Cheney Spotlight students from Cheney High School for last month. The Spotlight students receive Cheney Bucks from the Chamber for their accomplishments.
• Heard several reports from the city of Cheney. The city’s art installation on Main Street is nearly completed. The city has set May 29th for a citywide cleanup day, following the citywide garage sales this weekend. The city is exploring a Fourth Friday event for the Cherry Oaks Golf Course Pavilion and is looking for musicians interested in performing.
• Approved a $250 sponsorship with the Friends of Cherry Oaks Golf Tournament.
• Approved a buyout night for the Cheney Diamond Dawgs on Sunday, July 11, providing tickets for the community. The Chamber approved spending $200 on the buyout night.
• Noted that USD 268 middle school principal Ron Orsak has been named as a Regional Principal of the Year for Kansas.
• Heard a report from superintendent David Grover that the district’s bond refinancing efforts are going well, and should save the school district about $1.4 million. Grover also noted that this year’s Friend of Education award from the district will go to the Cheney Chamber of Commerce and the city of Cheney.
• Heard reports from local churches. Efforts are being made to put together summer events.
• Approved making adjustments to Chamber memberships to help some groups and individuals with costs and voting privileges.
• Introduced representatives from Kirkham Michael, an engineering firm located in Cheney. The company will be taking over a new office space that is currently under construction in Cheney, to meet growth needs within the company. Eck Agency is taking over the space where Kirkham Michael is now located, and introduced new employee Bonnie Lewis at last week’s meeting.