Struggling to recover from the pandemic? Kansas officials want to hear from you

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TOPEKA, Kan. — Kansas officials are planning an economic comeback, and they’re asking people across the state to weigh in.

Leaders of the state’s economic recovery task force, SPARK, met Thursday morning to discuss a tentative schedule for their remaining meetings for the year. The plan is to have a set of regional meetings to take place in different parts of the state, which will be “heavily weighted toward taking public comment,” according to committee chair Lt. Governor David Toland.

The proposal includes a meeting in Wichita, Kansas City, and Dodge City. Toland said this will ensure the committee is able to hear opinions and concerns from three major parts of the state.

“Hearing the concerns, hearing the opportunities that residence, business leaders, local government folks, and beyond have in each of those regions,” Lt. Governor Toland said. “We want to do more listening than talking during those meetings.”

Many people lost their jobs during the pandemic, while lockdowns and restrictions strained businesses. Some were forced to close their doors permanently.

The meeting will take place on-site and broadcast online for the public as well.

Tentatively, the first meeting is set to take place on October 18 from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. in Wichita. The second meeting is proposed to take place November 4 from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. in Dodge City and the third will be November 15 from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. in the Kansas City area.

The committee’s fourth meeting of the year will take place in Topeka, their usual location, on Friday, December 10 from 10 a.m. to noon, either on-site or virtually.

The Lt. Governor said feedback from the meetings will help inform further discussions the committee has on economic recovery efforts, and it will also help drive the focus for several workgroups that they’ve established.

The four advisory panels that they have in place include Economic Revitalization, Health and Education, Connectivity and Efficiency, and Modernization.

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