Garden City has been my home for 37 years. Having lived elsewhere and traveled extensively, I am continuously impressed with our progressive approach to meeting the challenges of growth and community needs. Our roads and public amenities far surpass many towns in Kansas and beyond. Our predecessors invested in the future by creating parks, the zoo, shady avenues and the Big Pool; assets we still enjoy today.
On Tuesday, voters can again invest in our community by approving a 0.3 percent sales tax to fund projects that enhance public safety and improve our crown jewel, Lee Richardson Zoo.
The zoo, an economic, educational, and recreational facility that attracts approximately 230,000 visitors annually, is a community treasure attractive to families, professionals and businesses considering relocation here. The ballot projects were selected by a local citizens' committee and elected officials from the Community Improvement Projects list for their value to the community. Jennie Barker Road improvements will relieve traffic with a third lane, sidewalks and signals to enhance safety. A third fire station will serve new growth on the east side of town with fire, police and emergency medical personnel stationed there, enhancing coverage throughout the city and county. A new shooting range will provide expanded and safer opportunities for firearms training for law enforcement and the public, replacing a 50-year-old range. Zoo improvements include a new hospital and habitats for the flamingos and primates. One-third of the primate funds have already been raised by Friends Of Lee Richardson Zoo, and will still go towards the project.
With about 47 percent of local sales tax generated by visitors from outside the county, this is an excellent way to ensure that all who benefit from these worthy projects support them financially. As a proud Garden Citian, I encourage a YES vote. Future generations are counting on us.