Downtown Update from Jason - July 18, 2019

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One of my most often-repeated sayings since I came to Downtown KCK has been “it never happens as fast as I want.” Not long after I started here, University of Kansas Health System announced the purchase of the “EPA Building” and their plans to create the Strawberry Hill Campus. Everyone was very excited, and things have been happening (mostly on the inside of the building where we can’t see), but there are days where I feel like “it’s been forever” and just want things to hurry up.

A downtown grocery store is one where this community has been waiting even longer. 18 months ago saw the apparent demise of the “healthy campus,” with no clear direction on when we might actually see what has been the number one community desire and need for years. Even as the grocery store project at 5th and Minnesota was tentatively announced, then confidently projected, we have still been waiting for tangible signs of progress.

Well wait no more! August will bring us progress on both fronts. UKHS-SHC will hold an opening celebration on August 29, from 4:30 – 6:30 pm. Not long after, the building will be hosting patients, so this is your one big opportunity to see the facility before it comes on line.

Additionally, the Unified Government will have a groundbreaking ceremony on August 15 for the Downtown Grocery Store. It’s incredibly exciting to have this event, as it’s the first physical sign we have of the coming grocery store. There has been a ton of work on getting the financing, plans, and contracts all drafted, agreed upon and signed, but that doesn’t register in the public like a good, old-fashioned shovel in dirt.

August promises to be a month of tangible events to celebrate work already done, and to herald huge changes for the good for Downtown KCK. I hope to see you there.

Jason Norbury