What is Coffeyville's Reawakening?

Posted Tuesday April 16, 2019

Coffeyville’s Reawakening is a grassroots effort to revitalize and restore areas of our community. There are currently three areas of focus: Restoring the Historic Midland Theater, Downtown Revitalization, and Neighborhood Rediscovery. For Coffeyville to see true economic and community development, all three must happen together. 

“To me, Coffeyville’s Reawakening is a collective and concerted effort to not only help revitalize our community by and through the downtown, the Midland Theatre and our neighborhoods as points of focus,” said Mike Shook Co-Chairman for the Coffeyville’s Awakening movement. “But maybe more importantly, it is also an effort to revitalize and reawaken the spirit of our community and residents, both current and past, by re- instilling a sense of pride, providing hope and opportunity through a passionate commitment to develop a sustainable plan of economic development, preservation, restoration and growth for Coffeyville.” 

Coffeyville’s Reawakening is working in collaboration with the Midland Theater Foundation toward restoration of the Midland Theater & Event Center in downtown Coffeyville. The Midland Board has recently undertaken several new challenges to not just restore the Midland and the attached Alamo building as an event center, but to also make sure the complex can be self-sustaining in the long-run. 

“The Midland Theater with the addition of an event center to the building to its west is just a part of what I hope will revitalize our downtown area and our community as a whole,” said Darrel Harbaugh, Midland Board member. “Coffeyville's Reawakening is a broader movement to make downtown Coffeyville a destination.” 

As we celebrate the 150th Anniversary of Coffeyville becoming a city, we also must see the reality of an aging downtown district that has its fair share of challenges. While Coffeyville has experienced some great restoration of historic buildings and many local businesses thrive in this area, there is still more work to be done. Coffeyville’s Reawakening believes a renewed focus on downtown will rebuild a struggling district and renew a sense of community pride. 

“This reawakening is much needed,” said Haylie Bagwell, Midland Theater Foundation President. “We have the opportunity to have a beautiful downtown area filled with shops, restaurants, and entertainment. A place where everyone can gather. My passion is strong for this city and I feel that when people start to see things moving along, businesses opening in our downtown district, and new opportunities popping up everywhere, that passion will be ignited throughout our entire community.” 

Neighborhood Revitalization is focused on rehabilitating homes in the 9th and 10th Street neighborhoods with hopes of expanding to other neighborhoods as more people become involved. The Neighborhood Revitalization Committee is focused on connecting neighbors and building a sense of community as well as finding affordable ways to rehabilitate homes and restore neighborhoods. They are also looking at  bringing Community Gardens to neighborhoods who desire the availability of fresh produce and grow their own food. 

“Two years ago when we started renovating our bungalows on 9th street there was a special feeling of purpose,” said Peggy Steele, owner of Baroness Properties and 9th St. resident. “We knew it was more than saving abandoned houses, but it would have been difficult to imagine how this would grow and evolve. Coffeyville’s Reawakening is a chance in a lifetime to be part of building a future for our beloved hometown that we can be proud of for generations to come.” 

Coffeyville’s Reawakening seeks to work in support of the upcoming 150th Anniversary Celebrations, the work of our Coffeyville Historical Society and all others who are working toward positive change in Coffeyville. 

“For me, it’s the legacy story and pride of having grown up in Coffeyville,” said Bill Wade, FKHS graduate. “This odyssey began as a 'what if’ idea of asking FKHS graduates, that went on to successful careers away from their hometown, to answer the call of opportunity and join with the leaders of Coffeyville in assisting a reawakening of this great city. The response has been astounding and more people are joining the ranks as the momentum for this calling grows.” 

There are no limitations to who can be involved, if you would like to volunteer, please contact us through the Facebook page: www.facebook.com/CoffeyvillesReawakening. You may also contact the Coffeyville Area Chamber of Commerce for more information at 620-251-2550. 

“Our hope is to provide an important spark in revitalizing the downtown area, our neighborhoods and, of course, the extraordinary and historic Midland Theater,” commented Bill Pratt, FKHS graduate, and Coffeyville homeowner. “Once that spark is lit and sustaining, we believe that this mission will take on a positive life of its own for years to come. Restoring the energy and pride that have always been instrumental in any progress that Coffeyville has made over its long and fascinating history.” 

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