Stith to be interim director

By Corene Brisendine

Members of the Flint Hills Regional Council have asked Gary Stith to take over running the organization while they conduct a search for a permanent director.

Ty Warner, the organization’s director since its inception, announced his resignation recently to become director for the Northwestern Indiana Regional Planning Commission. He will start in January with his last day as director for Flint Hills Regional Council being Dec. 28.

The council was founded in January of 2010 and Warner was hired in May. During that time the council has grown from 15 participants to 21 regional participants, mostly chamber of commerce and individual city administers. Over the three years, Warner has helped the region develop housing for soldiers, lobby Kansas Department of Transportation for funding on regional roads and highways, and helped with the development of the Metropolitan Planning Organization.

“These past three years has been all about coalition building and relationship building,” Warner said.

Stith is no stranger to bringing communities together. He was hired by the city of Manhattan in 1976 and was the lead city planner for the Manhattan Town Center. Once built, the center did what Stith had hoped it would do—bring more people into Manhattan for shopping instead of Topeka or Kansas City. He returned to Manhattan in 2007 where his wife took up a teaching position at Kansas State University. In 2011, Stith was appointed to the Manhattan Urban Area Planning Board, and has served in that capacity since then.

He will serve as interim director of the council until a replacement is chosen.

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