Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Green, Greener, Greensburg - Part II

Slogan on a t-shirt

"Because of the tornado, we have the opportunity to be a living laboratory."

Bob Dixson, Greensburg Mayor


This is the second post from our PEO road trip to Greensburg. In one day, we didn't see everything we would have liked. I'd love to go back and see the new BTI (John Deere) dealership, tour the churches and visit more of the downtown stores. As Greensburg continues to rebuild, there will be much more to see in the months and years ahead.

Ruth Ann Wedel at Greensburg Greentown says that they are relying on eco-tourism to continue to rebuild their community. They are now offering "Green Tours" to fit pretty much any family or group. It's a road trip that's inspiring and well worth your time. (Click on the Greentown link to learn more.) Plus, you'll be helping to rebuild Greensburg. And you didn't even have to bring a hammer!


If you know me, you know what a huge K-State fan I am. But I have to give it to KU. They helped give Greensburg a spectacular arts center. Studio 804, the 3rd year graduate students in architecture at KU, built the 5.4.7 Arts Center at a reduced cost.

It was the first LEED Platinum building in Kansas. This is the highest certification of "green" building, using wind turbines, solar panels and green building materials.

Stacey Barnes gave us a tour of the center. This Greenburg native also manages the Big Well Gift Shop.

The arts center offers display space for local, area and even national artists. It also has classes and artist demonstrations that promote both visual and performing arts.

One of the gallery's huge photographs shows how the arts center was transported to Greensburg after being built in sections by the KU students. What a convoy!

A metal awning covers the windows, but it can be raised and the series of doors can be opened to allow visitors to use both indoor and outdoor space for events.

High school students and advisers made this bench from "found" items after the tornado. It sits outside the arts center.


I didn't get a great photo of the outside of the new Kiowa County Memorial Hospital. I would have had to traipse across U.S. 54 for that. But the hospital, like the other new buildings in Greensburg, is impressive.

Our tour guide Carolyn Irvin was the perfect cheerleader for the progress made in the health care community as they've rebuilt from the May 2007 tornado. They've been in their new building for a little more than a year now.

When you walk in the door, you see this message: To improve lives through compassionate, quality health care.

At the front door, you hear the peaceful trickle of water, but it's not until you go to the basement that you see the water feature below the mission statement.

Like the other buildings in Greensburg, natural light is a centerpiece of the construction.

It's a 15-bed hospital served by one M.D., two nurse-practitioners and one physician's assistant. Other physicians visit Kiowa County for periodic specialty clinics. The medical clinic is attached to the hospital for one-stop medical care.

Tomorrow, one more post from Greensburg, as we continue to explore this story of resurrection and rebirth during this Easter season.


  1. Wow!! You know this fascinates me! Thank you, thank you for this post--and those to come!

  2. So great to see photos and know the direction the wind is blowing in Greensburg, Kansas. As an eco-tourist from Wisconsin, I look forward to my next visit. Can I get there by train?

  3. I have emailed Greensburg Greentown for an answer to your question and will let you know when I know. Thanks for commenting!

  4. Thanks to Dennis McKinney, Greensburg's interim city manager, who responded to my request for info. He said:

    "Train service is available to Dodge City. With a call to Greensburg Greentown, we could try to arrange transportation from there. In this region of Kansas, we have quite a few business leaders who run guide services. While they usually guide hunters, they would be just as glad to guide those who just want to photograph or otherwise observe our wildlife and habitat."

    Thanks to Dennis! Hope this helps and you'll be able to schedule a visit to our beautiful state soon!

  5. And this just in from Greensburg Greentown:

    I just wanted to quickly address the train question from your reader. Amtrak runs to Dodge City, which is 45 min west of Greensburg, as well as Hutchinson, which is 1.5 hrs north of Greensburg. Currently, there is no other public transportation available to connect Dodge City or Hutchinson to Greensburg, he/she would have to rent a car. If he/she were to fly into Wichita, there are tour services that have made trips here - but that may not be desirable as he/she is an eco-tourist. Hope this helps.

    Joah Bussert
    Greensburg GreenTown
    Project Manager
    402 S. Sycamore St.
    Greensburg, KS 67054

    Thanks to Joah for your response, too! To my reader: I hope this helps.