The Last Grains of 2021
Special Edition: Year in Review
There’s something about the last few days of a year, when it starts to feel like the sands of time are slipping through our fingers. Practically everyone starts making resolutions, setting goals, talking about what they’ve done or what they’re going to do. Maybe it’s a human need to feel like your time means something, maybe it’s just being a copy cat, and maybe time really is more precious than usual this time of year. The darkness intrudes early, the weather does what it pleases, and all of us feel a need for some hope and a few more minutes of time.
Looking back on a year inside (and outside) City Hall, there are a number of wins for the City of Baldwin City and its citizens. These are in no particular order, other than an attempt at chronological order, and the number 13 is definitely our lucky number. We hope you enjoy a quick look back, and gather a bit of sunshine for the year ahead.
1. In February, the city’s main powerplant ran for several days, avoiding the blackouts all over the midwest and astronomically high utility bills many small towns ended up paying.
We are beyond fortunate to have talented and experienced staff members and connections with other cities and organizations. There must be at least two qualified staff available at all times when the plant is running, and they ran 24 hours per day for around 100 hours. In our eyes, these guys are definitely the heroes we needed that week.
2. Baldwin City applied to become a Main Street community in 2021, and our application was accepted.
This is an honor and a privilege, and will require hard work to maintain. The Baldwin City Chamber of Commerce facilitates this program.
3. New coat of paint and city logo on the west water tower.
Both city water towers were thoroughly cleaned this year, and the west tower got painted with a fresh coat of white and the City’s logo. The north tower is jealous, but it will get its chance next year.
4. Engineering study for a potential new second electric substation was completed this year.
The project is under consideration by city council. More information on that project is available at Public Works, and online here.
5. The Baldwin City Gardners outdid themselves this year!
The downtown flowers, as well as the ones at public parks around town, were bright and gorgeous. We’re still thinking of them fondly on the last few days of December.
6. Red Bricks & Storied Structures preservation conference was a hit.
The City, with other local partners, sponsored a preservation conference held at Baker University this year. The sessions, attendance, and events were amazing. We’re excited to partner with Douglas County Historical Conservation Council again in 2022!
7. Events, both new and old standards, were a huge hit in 2021 Baldwin.
Trails & Trail Blazers celebrated the 200th anniversary of the Santa Fe Trail, the Rec Commission’s 4th of July Celebration truly rocked, Smoke on the Bricks knocked our socks off, the Lumberyard’s fantastic Live on High events kept us coming downtown every weekend, Big Hair on the Square was… Big, Hometown Halloween was bright and spooky fun, and Festival of Lights was decidedly lit! Check out some highlight photos on our Flickr account.
8. The Street Maintenance Program finished Phase II of chip & seal on internal city streets.
This is a win for the longevity of our street surfaces. Next year, Phase III will finish sealing the paved roads. More information on the project is available on our website.
9. Baldwin City celebrated 151 years of existence in 2021.
Our Sesquicentennial milestone (150 years) was in 2020, and all planned events had to be cancelled. However, there were a number of fun and colorful tributes to Baldwin this year to celebrate, even if a bit late. The City’s Birthday Party on September 18th was a fun cupcake-balloon-sidewalk chalk-country music event. A play called “Lucy Sweet Sullivan and the Petticoat Council” was produced by Baker University and the Lumberyard Arts Center, and then the Maple Leaf Festival continued the celebration with their “150 Plus 1 Years of Colorful History” parade theme.
10. The Maple Leaf Festival had one of the best weekends ever, as far as we’re concerned.
There was a huge turnout (best ever?), fantastic weather, and very few complaints or rough spots. Fall didn’t show up till the next week, but hey - maybe we forgot to invite her?
11. A program new to Baldwin City is building affordable homes, starting now.
We’re thrilled for this partnership and the unique way the program keeps the homes permanently affordable. Find out more or apply to own from our website.
12. City Council began a strategic planning program in February of 2020, and was able to complete the community input sessions this fall.
They will complete the council portion early in 2022. Read more, including a summary of the input, over here.
13. The Community Center project is moving forward.
The Baldwin City Community Center project in the old USD348 gymnasium is currently in an architectural & engineering study, and a funding source has been identified for this project. Find out more at BaldwinCity.gov/community-center.
Sven, the Baldwin Christmas Gnome sitting in the fountain across from City Hall, is watching the lights instead of the slipping sands of time, and maybe we should all take our cue from him. Happy New Year, and stay safe and warm this weekend.
Remember trash pickup is normal next week, and city employees are keeping an eye on the weather and the streets in case snow removal or emergency electrical intervention is needed. Our police department has extra patrols out watching for drunk or impaired drivers, and our volunteer fire department is on call, no matter the holiday or weather. Call 911 for emergencies, and 785-843-0250 for dispatch.
This was wonderful! Thank you to whoever it was that put this together. (Lynn?)