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Mike DodsonManhattan as a Destination. As we plan for the future there are some important things to consider. All of us want Manhattan to be a “great place to live and raise a family”. We also would like it to be a place, a destination, for people to visit, to shop, to recreate, to stay overnight and even to cause them to make the decision to make Manhattan their home or locate their business. We must carefully and prudently plan in order to compete and demonstrate our value. This will take vision, innovation, hard work and the active participation of our citizens.

Controlled, Orderly Growth. As we grow, we must do so in a way that balances our projects and our speed of growth with a plan for prudent financing. We all want to live in attractive and vibrant city. We are fortunate to the resources of Kansas State University, Fort Riley, forward looking entrepreneurs, and active citizens. These resources provide real potential to provide a good quality of life, opportunities for good jobs, opportunities for high-quality education for our children, and excellent medical care. We must carefully consider how we develop already developed areas and also how we develop new areas, such as along the highway 24 corridor.

Sustaining our Assets. The unique advantages provided by Fort Riley and Kansas State University must not be taken for granted. Fort Riley must be protected from the significant reductions that could come from federal budget cuts and any future BRACs. KSU must be protected from State budget cuts. All of us must be advocates for these great institutions, be watchful for actions that adversely impact them, and take action to make our voices heard.

Traffic Improvement. The ability to travel in and around the city is vital to safety, efficiency and to creating a good quality of life and a vibrant business climate. We must be able to get traffic safely around the city both north and south, and east and west, and also protect the neighborhoods. Roads and traffic control are like arteries in the body. They facilitate commerce throughout the city. When faced with choices, people tend to go where they have the best safe, quick and easy access.

Cost of Living and Available Housing. Manhattan enjoys a good quality of life, but suffers from a relatively higher cost of living than some other communities in Kansas. In addition, in part due to the higher cost of housing and a relatively transient workforce (KSU and Fort Riley), we have a little over 60% of our citizens in rental property. As we go forward it would be desirable to provide opportunities for increased home ownership. This could take the form of the protection of older neighborhoods, either to help ensure citizens who wish to remain in their homes can do so, or to provide affordable housing for new families. It could also lead to condominium living close to downtown.

Preservation of Older Neighborhoods. The protection and preservation of older neighborhoods is vital to any development plan. Many of these neighborhoods offer the only source of affordable housing for our citizens. Some are on fixed incomes and are long-term residents, others are first time home buyers trying to enter the market. We should ensure that this housing is not allowed to deteriorate through inattention and unwittingly contribute to creating unstable neighborhoods. At the same time, there are older neighborhoods near the University or downtown where reinvestment or redevelopment makes sense. This kind of planning is an essential part of coordinated economic development strategy.

Intergovernmental Cooperation. In order to fully coordinate planning development and minimize duplication and thereby costs, we must insure cooperation of all of our regional governments. This will allow the sharing of resources and the achievement of common goals. The city should take a leadership role in working with the School Board, Riley County, Pottawatomie County, KSU and Fort Riley.

Downtown Redevelopment. The planning that was done years ago has made a significant difference for Manhattan. Not only has it significantly improved the image of the city and offered increases in shopping opportunities, it has provided jobs and has increase the Revenue to the City and County. The ongoing planning with the Manhattan Urban Area Comprehensive Plan for 2035, the related Traffic Study and the Parks and Recreation Study, combined with the entrepreneurs and our active citizens can have a similar significant impact on our City and Region. This can lead to the further defining of the value of Manhattan and stimulation of investment.

Parking for Downtown and Aggieville. We have a parking challenge both in the downtown area and in Aggieville. Adequate and handy parking is required to create a vibrant business climate. This encourages development and unlocks private investment which in-turn creates jobs. There is some work to be done to determine how many spaces we need, where they should be located and how they can be paid for. A modest daily charge could be assessed in order to help defray the cost. In addition, the parking garages can be combined with condo development, which affords people an opportunity to live near city center. It will be important to coordinate these proposals with our partners in the County.

Latest News

Three Kansas House incumbents file for re-election

The Manhattan area’s state representatives have all declared their intent for the 2022 election.

State Rep. Sydney Carlin, D-Manhattan, for the Kansas House District 66 race; Rep. Suzi Carlson, R-Clay Center, for District 64; and Rep. Mike Dodson, R-Manhattan, for District 67 have filed for re-election.

Carlin was first elected in 2002. She is the ranking minority member on the agriculture and agriculture and natural resources budget committees. She also serves on the House Appropriations Committee, Joint Committee on Corrections and Juvenile Justice Oversight and the 2021 Special Committee on the 30 x 30 Federal Initiative.

Carlson was first elected in 2018. She serves on the agriculture, health and human services, and water committees. She also serves on the Joint Committee on Child Welfare System Oversight.

Mike DodsonDodson was first elected in 2020. He serves on the elections, veterans and military, insurance and pensions, and commerce, labor and economic development committees.

Last month, Rep. Ron Highland, R-Wamego, said he wouldn’t run for re-election in District 51 after 10 years in office.

He endorsed Kenny Titus, an attorney and business owner who lives in Wamego, as his successor. Titus, a Republican, filed the same day Highland made his announcement.

The four House races have no other candidates, according to Kansas Secretary of State records. The candidate filing deadline is noon June 1.

The primary election is Aug. 2, and the general election is Nov. 8.

Originally published by The Manhattan Mercury.

Dodson Files For Re-Election to Kansas House

Mike Dodson

Manhattan, Kansas – State Representative Mike Dodson has filed for re-election to the Kansas House of Representatives, District 67. Mike is a retired Lieutenant General and former Mayor of Manhattan. Dodson was first elected to the seat in 2020. The 67th House district includes the western portion of the city of Manhattan and Riley County. 

“It has been an honor to serve my friends and neighbors in the Kansas House and I look forward to the opportunity to continue to meet with as many as possible to better understand their priorities for our community and our state,” said Dodson. 

Dodson serves as a member of the Elections Committee, Veterans and Military Committee, Insurance and Pensions Committee and the Commerce Labor and Economic Development Committee.   

“I’ve been fighting for local control and strategic investments to set Kansas up for success,” said Dodson. “We have a duty to invest in the children, infrastructure and health care in Kansas and our budget surplus now makes that possible.” 

Mike and his wife, Diane retired to Manhattan after a 37-year career in the United States Army, which included two tours at Fort Riley, one as Commanding General. In 2015, Mike, a lifelong Republican, was elected to the Manhattan City Commission, served three years as commissioner and one year as Mayor.  Mike also served as Chairman of the Riley County Law Board.    

Mike and his wife Diane have been married 57 years. They have three adult daughters and two grandchildren. He holds a master’s degree in engineering from Kansas State University. He is a past President of Manhattan Rotary, a member of the Manhattan Chamber of Commerce, a member of the Little Apple Military Brigade, and former Chairman of the National Armed Services YMCA.