Haysville on mission to recreate historic sites after 1999 tornado

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HAYSVILLE, Kan. (KSNW) – The City of Haysville could soon get a makeover to look like it did before the 1999 tornado.

The city has been approved as a Certified Local Government (CLG) by the National Park Service, making it eligible for preservation-focused grants and technical assistance.

“It’s a program that works with communities to help them preserve their historic sites whether it is prehistoric or architectural, even archaeology. They work with the local communities to help us preserve our historic sites,” said Haysville Planning and Zoning Administrator Rose Corby.

For more than 17 years, people in Haysville have been rebuilding and reconstructing the place they call home.

“The tornado had actually started south of Haysville and literally went through our entire historic district,” Corby said.

The May 3, 1999 tornado destroyed nearly everything in its path including dozens of homes and businesses.

“It left pretty much just the bank vault and the old feed mill and that’s all it left,” Corby said.

The city was able to salvage one of its historic structures, the Vicker’s Building. Officials spent about $52,000 to recreate the building in 2005 to look like it did before the tornado hit. The building is now home to the Haysville Chamber of Commerce.

“Through photographs, through stories we have actually been able to recreate as much of that as we possibly could and we are still working on it,” Corby said.

The CLG allows the city to apply for funding to pay for research and surveying of historic properties. The grants will ultimately help officials reconstruct and preserve the city’s historic sites.

“While we may not be 200, 300 years old we are still historic. We have quite a bit going on here and we want to make sure that that’s all preserved for future generations,” Corby said. “We are all interested in our history. We all want to know what our history is and for those citizens who grew up in Haysville, that’s important.”

The city has to apply for the grants. They can range in dollar amounts depending on the project.

The city plans to do first apply to get the Vicker’s Building registered as a National Historic Site.