Gardner Mayor Chris Morrow tells a crowd of approximately 50 people that it is morning in Gardner. Photo courtesy of Rick Poppitz/kcvideo.com

Gardner Mayor Chris Morrow tells a crowd of approximately 50 people that it is morning in Gardner. Photo courtesy of Rick Poppitz/kcvideo.com


Danedri Thompson
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Gardner officials have a vision and they are right on track, Mayor Chris Morrow told a crowd during his State of the City Address on March 12.
“Why should you have to leave Gardner to shop, to eat at a favorite restaurant or enjoy a night out with your family?” Morrow said. “You shouldn’t.”
Approximately 40 people, including residents, public officials and city staff crowded into city hall to hear the Mayor’s second annual address.
The speech emphasized plans to build in 2015 on the city’s 2014 successes.
Those successes included the adoption of a comprehensive plan and continuing efforts to assess the city’s infrastructure and maintenance needs and draft a capital improvement plan.
Morrow also noted the city was ranked the fifth safest in the state of Kansas last year. He also briefly introduced some of the city’s newest employees, including its public information officer, Daneeka Marshall-Oquendo, and the new police chief, James Pruetting.
Human capital will continue to be a priority in 2015, Morrow said.
The city also hopes to welcome more cultural events to the community this year. For example, Morrow said the city will start a summer concert series, Bands in the Park.
Those efforts will attract more visitors to town, he said.
The speech heavily emphasized plans to drive economic development.
He said an economic development task force began meeting last year to help develop a road map for growth, and the comprehensive plan helped shape some of that vision.
City officials will use what Morrow called a “Triple C” approach — collaboration, communication and civic engagement —  to bring about the city’s vision.
He cited a joint effort between Gardner and Edgerton to build the Big Bull Creek Sewer Plant as an example of collaboration, and the economic symposium on March 11 as an example of civic engagement.
“This is the approach that is going to make our vision a reality,” Morrow said.
Vision will serve as a guide in the community’s future.
“Vision is what we have,” Morrow said.