Men’s Choir concert
at 6:30 p.m. not 6:00
LINDSBORG – The Smoky Valley Men’s Choir Hyllningsfest concert will be at 6:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 18, at Bethany Lutheran Church.
Last week, I suffered a momentary attack of Swedish punctuality, and said the concert was at 6. Not so. It’s at 6:30.
The roots of this error can be traced to initiation here in the early 2000s when I would arrive at an event half an hour early and, time and again, find the place already filled. It seems this was not happenstance, but custom. In Lindsborg, on time is late.
Half an hour early is one thing. But another half-hour early is trouble. That error (Men’s Choir, 6 p.m.) would mean people settling in at 5:30 or, given the wild popularity of the Men’s Choir, arriving at 5. An hour later, and with no Choir, people would begin to mutter, grow restless, start looking for the coot who had it wrong about the time.
I have enough people after me. I shouldn’t add the Men’s Choir.
Again, it’s 6:30.
Still moving in
the right direction
Hyllningsfest is a good time to view inspiration closest to home. The festival this month is our biennial salute of reverence for the immigrants who settled here, dreamed of the community to be. The Swedes arrived with little more than the clothes they wore, a few Bibles and hymnals, and a profound faith that they could build promise in a new place for the next generations.
A century and a half later, we carry on.
A look around tells a lot. Lindsborg seems always to have something in the works to make the community safer, more attractive, more welcoming, more heartening. This comes through the diligence and attention at city hall, the courthouse, the school district, Bethany College, and the connective involvement of citizens who volunteer for all manner of tasks that help to lift the community.
The results are everywhere. Here is an account – hardly complete – of local improvements since the turn of this century:
‒ A three-year city-wide sidewalk rehabilitation project, with municipal subsidies for private property improvements (completed 2004);
‒ The $370,000 renovation of East Lincoln Street from Second Street to Harrison-Cole and including the great iron Välkommen archway; the project also included new lighting, signage, 10-feet wide sidewalks, and landscaping (completed in 2005);
– Viking Valley, the children’s recreation village in Swensson Park (completed 2005), a community volunteer effort.
‒ The $1.5 million Välkommen Trail, a 2.5-mile paved concrete and landscaped pedestrian and bicycle roadway with trail heads and rest stops (opened in 2006); the Trail financing included $1.2 million in federal Transportation Enhancement Grants through the state Department of Transportation. A 1.5-mile extension recently opened in northeast Lindsborg;
‒ Renovation and upgrading of the City’s entire power grid, doubling voltage capacity, increasing efficiency and reducing line loss (a 7-year program completed in 2007 at roughly $200,000 per year);
– The massive, multi-year landscape renovations at Bethany College, new gardens and water features that make the campus as lovely as any park; in addition, new buildings, refurbished dormitories and classrooms add to the magnetism.
‒ The Smoky Valley School District’s purchase and remodeling of the former Laubach Building, expanding the district’s online charter School to Vision_Tek, a community teaching, research and technology center;
‒ The $400,000 widening and rebuilding of East Swensson, from Bethany campus to Harrison-Cole, including new lighting, signage and landscaping (2011);
‒ The $1.2 million renovation of the Lindsborg Municipal Building and City offices, at Main and Lincoln (completed, 2010);
‒ Construction of a $5.8 million state-of-the-art water treatment plant (finished, 2011). Of the total cost, $500,000 came from municipal sewer reserve funds. The rest (most) of the project was paid with a $3.4 million federal loan and $1.9 million in two federal grants.
– The gleaming J.O. Sundstrom Conference Center, opened in 2013, has brought raves.
– In 2017, a far-reaching flood control (stormwater management) project in north and west Lindsborg, financed with a new stormwater utility fee. After the tragic flooding of 2013, the City took action, crafted a plan and a way to pay for it. In four years it happened. We no longer worry much when the rare heavy rains are in a forecast.
And there are the skate park, the new dog park, and many other worthy projects for this list. But that’s the drift. Layered into the story are the generous gifts of many benefactors, people who believed in the community.
The accomplishments also may be seen as collateral benefits of state and federal aid, when projects cultivate a desire to keep going. In April 2010, voters approved a city-wide, half-cent sales tax increase to finance economic development projects. Successful projects have stimulated the desire for more.
Hyllningsfest celebrates heritage that inspires this community, but it won’t hurt to acknowledge the people, their governments, and the volunteers and donors who keep it headed in a promising direction.