Community Success Stories
This project was identified as one Stafford Pride needed to do by the requirements of the Kansas Pride program as a participating community. In order to determine the future projects of Stafford Pride we regularly take the pulse of the community. We also had the goal of creating a Vision Statement for the Stafford Pride group to help guide us to a future we desired for the organization.
We tried offering a survey over a year's time and didn't have many participate. It gets costly in time and prizes used as incentives to get enough participants for a survey.
So we decided to try a Visioning session and inviting the public. We had a good sampling of different ages & types of people participating, though the group was small - only about 33. They ranged from 10 to 80+.
We asked Glenn Newdigger our county Extension agent to lead the meeting. Pride members donated the food for a simple supper. Then we broke into different groups with about 6 in each group. We then on large pieces of paper listed or drew pictures in response to the following 4 tasks:
1. Create a time line as far back as the people in the group had been in Stafford, and to list the significant things that had happened that effected Stafford;
2. List the weaknesses and strengths of Stafford;
3. Make a statement describing Stafford as we see it today.
4. Draw a picture of Stafford with all the things we would like to see in 2020. The results were compiled into articles and submitted to the local newspaper. One article really hit a nerve. We stated the weaknesses and strengths and only had space for the weaknesses. Some of the things in this article were not popular with some people.
Some people complained and some applauded what was said. The timing caused it to be a little worse as elections were just held and a big turnover in the city council had occurred and some people were concerned about their jobs, etc. We managed to smooth things over with further details and explanations in the rest of the articles.
We did succeed in creating our Vision Statement. And will be using the information gathered as we look to create new projects.
Stafford PRIDE sponsors “Adopt A Planter”
In 1985, Stafford celebrated its Centennial. In readiness for the centennial, 42 brick planters were built in downtown Stafford and a Bradford pear was planted in each. PRIDE felt it would be nice to have flowers blooming in the planters.
Articles were printed in the Stafford Courier asking people to “adopt a planter.” Organizations, businesses and individuals responded. Some gave donations to buy plants and soil, some came and helped plant and others watered. This is quite a large undertaking but it makes a big impact on our downtown.
PRIDE kept this project for many years. In 2008, Stafford Main Street asked to assume these responsibilities since they are accountable for the downtown area. The planters are still being adopted and are a visually appealing asset to Stafford.
Stafford Sign sponsored by PRIDE
In June 1987, Stafford PRIDE began discussing a nice sign for our town that would be on Highway 50. Stafford Co-op gave permission for the sign to be placed on their property. PRIDE had some fundraisers, such as a plant sale; but once the design was chosen, 200 individuals, 10 organizations and 8 businesses contributed the needed $3,269.25 in less than 3 months.
has a brick base and the sign itself is blasted redwood. It was
installed in May 1990. It has a V shape, so it can be read from the
east or from the west. It was repaired and restored in August 1995 and
varnished again in 2005. Twenty years after its installation, it still
welcomes visitors passing through and residents as they return from
travels. It was a worthwhile investment that still has impact.
In September 1989, PRIDE became interested in seeing the Ritz Theater restored. The building belonged to the city, but it hadn’t been used for quite a few years. The roof leaked and many ceiling tiles had fallen on the seats. In plain English – it was a disaster!!! We found an approximate cost of $45,000 to replace the roof, some of the flooring, the screen, plumbing and some repairs. This included many volunteer hours, too.
The city council was asked to put a new roof on their building and they agreed. A “Save the Ritz” committee was appointed and they worked hand in hand with PRIDE. The first year, we got a new roof, it was treated for termites, painted on the outside, holes in the north wall were repaired, two new furnaces were installed a new ceiling put in place, new doors on east end of the theater, recessed lights put over the stage area which had been enlarged, wheel chair ramps on either side of stage, all seats unscrewed and stored in another building and much cleaning done.
Here are some before and after pictures of the bathroom and the theatre seating:
We worked several years to get everything painted, new carpeting, a new screen, the seats refurbished and the men’s restroom made larger. The Ritz is now well used. Community Christmas services were held there for several years, concerts have been given in it, movies are shown twice a month on Friday night, Saturday night and Sunday afternoon.
things have been done to continue to improve the Ritz. The front was
repainted by Stafford Main Street, restoring it to the original colors.
Fabric was hung on the side walls to improve sound. The concessions
stand has been remodeled and is much nicer. We are sure everyone in
Stafford is glad PRIDE helped start the “Save the Ritz”