It is important that every community strive to achieve possession of the twelve key assets of Ogallala Commons’ Commonwealth. Each one is unique and is important to the welfare of a community. I am living and working in Pawnee County this summer and I’m happy to say that between the four communities in the county we can easily cover all of the twelve assets.
I’m going to start with foodshed and soil and mineral cycle because here those are the most obvious. We are most definitely a farming community. A large percentage of our residents farm crops or raise cattle. We are even the birthplace of Farm Credit! How cool. We have a lot of nature and wildlife around here. We are a county away from Cheyenne Bottoms Wildlife Preserve which is very neat. This reminds me often of how great it is that there is so much farmland here and not so much concrete.
This county is drenched in history from the days of the Santa Fe Trail. We have a museum outside of Larned with many cool displays and artifacts (Santa Fe Trail Center); we also have Fort Larned which is one of the best preserved forts from the Indian Wars. There are places you can go here to see the actual Santa Fe Trail Ruts that were made by the covered wagons. There are also areas we know to be old Indian campsites. We have the Central States Scout Museum and Burdett is the boyhood home of Clyde Tombaugh, the man who discovered Pluto! We may be small but we really have produced some great stories and some great people. This history is a large part of our arts & culture. We have Santa Fe Trail Days, an annual celebration complete with a parade, car show, carnival, live concerts, and anything else you’d want at a party. We also have a fully volunteer run movie theater which is amazing. As for leisure & recreation we, of course, have the movie theater but we also have high school games for both high schools in the county, a large swimming pool, multiple parks (even a splash park!), and gaming fields.
That leads me into the asset of sense of place. This community relies heavily on volunteers and we normally produce them. People around Larned are friendly and happy to help at any time. That is what I love about this community. I can come home and I know that when I go into Dillons I will have to stop in the aisles and chat with a few familiar faces, it’s inevitable. There’s even an annual celebration in Rozel, a town of 156 people, that turns up hundreds more than that.
As for water we have the Pawnee River that flows right into the Arkansas River on the edge of Larned. As for spirituality there are many churches in the area. It’s very easy to find peace and quiet around here which is another one of my favorite things about this community.
We recently built a very beautiful and new Pawnee Valley Medical Center with both the hospital and clinic. There are sidewalks lining nearly every street and I always see people out and about getting exercise in Larned.
We really have four great communities around here and I am lucky I got to grow up in such a nice area. I am thankful for all of the assets we hold and am proud that I can say we’re doing great.