Gary Fike, county extension director, asked Riley County commissioners on Thursday about partnering to develop a conference focused on rural entrepreneurship. The idea is to improve sustainability and survivability in towns like Riley, Leonardville and Randolph.
“I feel very strongly about rural America,” Fike said. “I’ve always enjoyed the fact Kansas had a lot of small towns, a lot of farms, a lot of farm background, those kinds of things.”
Fike also wants the conference to facilitate discussions about ways to help boost local businesses.
“Small businesses and small towns are something that we need to have, and just survivability in rural America is getting tougher and tougher,” Fike said.
Chairman Ron Wells and commissioner John Ford expressed support for this initiative. Fike did not mention a date for the proposed conference.
Dennis Butler, director of the Riley County Police Department, said the department is working on plans to relocate the Aggieville Police Substation, 113 Moro St., to the new parking garage being built in the district. The city offered the space for the substation, Butler said.
“It’s an offer that we didn’t anticipate,” Butler said. “I don’t want to squander this opportunity.”
Butler said the department is waiting for full approval from the state related to TIF, which is the tax increment financing district Aggieville is a part of.
Additionally, Sgt. Dustin Weiszbrod has been deployed to the northern part of the county, Butler announced.
A victim advocate coordinator is also joining the staff in September. The new employee will help victims of traumatizing situations navigate the criminal justice system. Butler did not identify the person filling the position.
Butler said he plans to observe activity in Aggieville later this month, which is something he’s previously done.
Clancy Holeman, counselor and director of administrative services, said delegates from six counties are attending the multi-county summit planned for Aug. 29 in Manhattan.
The counties are Leavenworth, Saline, Kearny, Miami, Johnson and Geary. Holeman expects other counties to attend, as well.
The summit joins representatives across the state for a day of collaboration and discussion about happenings and business around Kansas. The location for the event is not official yet.