The City of Derby’s 150th birthday gave us a good reason to celebrate in 2019. Together, we learned about our history and celebrated our city for growing from its origin in 1869, to a boomtown in the 1950s and 1960s, to today. Derby (pop. 24,000) is now among the 17 largest cities in Kansas.
Community organizations and volunteers celebrated all year long with not only fun events but also creation of a history book, board game for family fun, and commemorative shirts and gifts (a few are still available for purchase at the Derby Public Library).
But that wasn’t enough for this great city. Rock Regional Hospital opened this year, adding to the growing medical community in Derby and providing emergency and surgical care for not only Derbyites but also people in many neighboring communities.
The City’s new fire station opened in July at the corner of Woodlawn and Madison Avenue, and at the same time we wished Brad Smith, our longtime Fire Chief, a happy retirement and welcomed new Fire Chief John Turner back to his hometown.
The City made great progress in 2019 by adopting a K-15 Area Plan to set forth a vision for redeveloping the commercial area along the highway between Meadowlark Boulevard and Patriot Avenue. The City Council also assumed ownership of a portion of the former Sixth Grade Center and financed improvements so the Derby Recreation Commission could operate Hubbard Arts Center next to the Derby Historical Museum. Look for that ribbon cutting in 2020!
The two major projects in which the City is currently engaged are reconstruction of Kay and Water streets just west of K-15 and construction of the new Decarsky Park on south Rock Road. Both are major financial commitments and will help grow the business and recreational opportunities in Derby.
The November elections brought some new faces both to the Board of Education of USD 260 and to the City Council. After 17 years of service, Cheryl Bannon stepped down as the longest serving Councilwoman in Derby’s history. Devoted volunteers like Cheryl make our community a better place to live. Many thanks to all our elected officials.
I continue to be proud of Derby and can hardly imagine living anywhere else.