Spring is here with summer fast approaching and there's no better time than now to get to know your local community better. “Live Local” and your entire community benefits!

Spring is here with summer fast approaching and there's no better time than now to get to know your local community better. "Live Local" and your entire community benefits!

As hosts of Leavenworth's community festival since 1995, Leavenworth Main Street is excited for new developments and changes to this year's Buffalo Bill Days Festival on Sept. 13 and 14! It is great to see local residents and businesses step up with fresh ideas for planning this event. Our desire for a community-organized festival is coming true!

Because of the dedication of a new, independent festival committee headed by Christine (Cricket) Pugh, and the establishment of a new Kansas Main Street organization, we will be able to better focus on our mission to keep downtown Leavenworth economically healthy through historic preservation of its buildings, keeping storefronts occupied and supporting current businesses in attracting customers.

How can you help your community and reward yourself? Get to know your historic downtown community and experience the modern life of a historic downtown. It's the First City of Kansas and that's a big deal. Local businesses understand the value of giving old buildings another chance and with over 70 retailers and restaurants downtown, you'll want to come often and bring your friends and family.

In addition to helping establish the surrounding community as an economic magnet by engaging residents and drawing in new visitors, reusing historic places adds to the charm and character of the surrounding area.

Shop downtown. Downtown Leavenworth is the home of the "original mom and pops" – an exciting collection of unique, creative, specialty and general merchandise shops that offer an array of products and services, many one of a kind. Antiques and Collectibles, Art & Framing, Books, Boutique and Hip Clothing, Embroidery, Screen Printing, Boots and Jeans, Fun and Fine Jewelry, Handbags, Accessories, Quilting, Formalwear, Home Décor, Gifts and Thrift, downtown Leavenworth has it all.

Take a walk downtown. Get to know the people behind the local businesses. Be curious, visit and you'll be amazed. Take in the awesome architecture with many buildings constructed in the late 1800s. Stroll or jog 3 Mile Creek, Riverfront Park and all about downtown. From the Missouri River to Broadway, Choctaw to Shawnee, downtown Leavenworth covers 28 blocks.

Dine downtown. Downtown restaurants will amaze you with breakfast, lunch and dinner options, including an old fashioned soda fountain and grill and local microbrewery. Good eats, good home cooking, good treats, good friendships.

Take care of business downtown. All of your financial needs can be met, including banking, accounting, legal, title and general insurance, investments, real estate and financial planning. Need a new car or truck or is your car in need of repair or servicing? You'll find auto repair, mufflers, detailing, body work and new cars and trucks downtown. Are you renovating, remodeling or building? Downtown has the expertise and products, from signs and awnings to paint, stain, hardware, fixtures, flooring, appliances, furniture, home accessories and more. Got pets? Find staples for your pets including tack and feed and a spay/neuter clinic.

Sculpt, soothe and pamper yourself downtown. Numerous hair and nail salons, spas, massage therapy, yoga and related methodologies, chiropractic, acupuncture, counseling and therapy, eye care, medical and dental to serve you.

Be entertained downtown. Activities for all ages from dance, music, live theatre, digital screen movie theatre, museums, community center, senior activities plus volunteer opportunities galore that will keep you active, young and involved! Keep tabs on the exciting array of activities by checking out www.visitleavenworthks.com frequently and your entertainment calendar will be full.

Learn downtown. Community college, higher education satellite campuses, GED preparation and more.
Commit to "Living Local" and you'll find other people who are passionate and proud of their locally grown stores and interesting merchants. By "living local" your dollars spent re-circulate over and over throughout the community. This re-circulation benefits the schools, athletic, church and charitable programs.
All in all, local, sustainable, vibrant communities are places where we can go to explore our heritage, learn about our past, and grow a bright future for the next generation. Come downtown often and re-discover the modern life of historic downtown Leavenworth. For more information, contact the Leavenworth Main Street Program, 416 Cherokee www.leavenworthmainstreet.com 913-682-3924.

Wendy Scheidt is executive director of Leavenworth Main Street.