If the south-central Kansas region is to prosper, it needs to think and act more regionally. It needs to recognize that by working together on common goals, the region can maximize its resources and potential.
Encouraging such regionalism is a focus of a “mayor’s summit” Wednesday at the Wichita Marriott. Mayors from all the cities in a 10-county region were invited to the event being hosted by Goddard Mayor Marcey Gregory, Mount Hope Mayor Terry Somers and Wichita Mayor Jeff Longwell.
In addition to providing an opportunity for the mayors to connect with one another, the summit will outline current regional initiatives, including the regional export plan and the Blueprint for Regional Economic Growth being spearheaded by Wichita State University.
One message Longwell wants to communicate is that Wichita is “no longer in the business of competing with our neighbors.” That means “no more bidding wars with our neighbors on economic development,” he told The Eagle editorial board. In fact, he wants city staff to provide help and resources to smaller cities, recognizing that Wichita benefits when the region benefits.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to The Wichita Eagle
Somers thinks that smaller communities too often act as if they are islands unto themselves, yet they share many of the same challenges and can learn from one another.
Having more cities working together can improve the effectiveness and efficiency of limited local resources, making the region more competitive and enhancing the quality of life for all residents.
As Gregory noted, regionalism “raises all boats.”
For the editorial board, Phillip Brownlee