The Wellington City Council recently appointed nine members to a steering committee that will work with Wichita State University over the next five months to develop a five-year strategic plan for Wellington.
These individuals will make up the Strategic Planning Committee, which will work with WSU’s Public Policy and Management Center (PPMC). Three of the individuals to serve on the Strategic Planning Committee are city council members - Kevin Dodds, Robert Hamilton and Jennifer Heersche. Several of the non-city council members are new to serving on a committee, or at least one for the city - but not all of them.
Bob Leftwich, president and CEO of Impact Bank, has been with the business in Wellington since 1977. He has served on several boards for the Wellington Chamber of Commerce, Sumner County Economic Development Commission, the city and county.
“I’m looking forward to the process,” Leftwich said. “I think we need to go with an open outlook. The eastern corridor and downtown both have potential for growth. We need to make Wellington more of a destination and keep people shopping locally.”
Leftwich said he believes success comes from having a plan and working toward it.
“Like with any business, you set a goal and you make a pathway toward that goal,” he said.
He stressed that the committee members will need the input of the community and not just make decisions on their own. “The whole town can be involved,” he said.
Cammy Theurer-McComb, an assistant broker and chief operating officer with Theurer Auction Realty, 1101 E. 16th St., has been active in the chamber and economic development commission, but this is her first time to be on a board appointed by the city.
“I just want to help with growth in our community,” she said.
Theurer-McComb has been active with helping the eastern corridor grow. “We sold property where the Dollar Tree is,” she said. “We have property to the west of it across the highway north from the high school under contract. It should close in the spring.”
She said the downtown also needs to be developed. “We have a lot to offer downtown. There just needs to be more. It needs to be developed and we need to get a downtown destination. There needs to be more to offer all over Wellington.”
Valerie Earl, the new director of the Wellington Chamber of Commerce, also applied and was named to the committee.
“Being in the new position I’m in and being more involved in the community, I felt like I had a better connection so I thought it would be a better opportunity to serve on that board,” Earl said. “I feel like I have a stake in the community and I care about the future of Wellington.”
Earl and her husband, Brandon Earl, moved to Wellington with their children in June of 2013, and they do not plan to leave anytime in the near future.
“My husband manages a business (Mill Creek Lumber), our children are in school here. We plan on putting down roots and staying here.”
Having lived in different places, Earl believes, can be an advantage in serving on the steering committee.
“I’ve lived in three different states in my life so I think I have experience with different areas so I feel like maybe I can offer a fresh look,” she said.
Dustin Craig is a local entrepreneur who has run his own photography business, put out a newsletter about the local business community and does marketing consulting for businesses.
He grew up in Wellington, graduating from high school here in 2002. His father, Terry Craig, worked as general manager at the Wellington Daily News for years and served on City Council for a number of years.
“Putting together a strategy, I’d like to be involved in that,” he said.
Craig said there is potential for the city with it being off the turnpike, but he would also like to see more pride and better morale within the city. “You tend to hear negative stuff,” he said.
Ideas will need to be implemented if the planning is to be successful, he said.
“Once we get ideas in place, it’ll be important that we have action,” he said. “Ideas are one thing. Putting them into action is another.”
Others appointed to the committee are Jan Grace, operations officer for the Cowley College Sumner campus, and Aaron Seyfert.