The Tampa community continues to thrive and to enjoy the benefits of its participation in the Kansas PRIDE program.
It started as the Tampa Community Association in 2003 and evolved into a Pride program that is in its sixth year.
“When someone starts something, other people come on board,” farm wife and Pride committee member Carla Hajek said. “And when visitors with connections to the community see what’s being done, they contribute.”
“It was a progression,” Pride president Carole Spohn said. “The late mayor Jim Clemmer had a large part in it. He was Tampa’s biggest promoter as long as he was alive, and the present mayor and city council deserve credit for continuing to support us.”
Pride committee member Clark Davis said the Pride program has been a “fantastic” program for Tampa. It provides networking and funding. He said a fundamental principle of the Kansas Pride program is to be inclusive, and several rural residents serve on the committee.
“Some people wonder why country folks would get involved in the town, but they say, ‘It’s still our town,’” Spohn said.
As some people have moved away, others have moved into the community and become involved.
One woman told Spohn that being invited to participate in Pride activities made her feel a part of the community.
When mothers wanted a new park, a grant committee appointed by Pride was formed to seek funding. Farmer David Mueller, who served on the committee, was impressed when mail carrier Steve Jirak rattled off the names of 80 children who lived within a six-mile radius of Tampa.
“That was an eye-opener,” he said.
Many volunteers and many hours of work went into making the park a reality.
Pride floated the idea for a grocery store, and others took and ran with it, Spohn said. Volunteers help to maintain regular evening and Saturday hours. Kathy Davis keeps the store open from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. four days a week.
The group organized a 125th anniversary town celebration in 2012 and helped fund several Tampa welcome signs. It sponsors Santa’s appearance every Christmas. It installed flower planters on Main Street and organized a community-wide garage sale.
Most recently, Pride sponsored a Cinco DeMayo event. The committee is sponsoring a “Dinner Together” activity that will take place the first Wednesday of every month from May to September.
Mueller said many young families, numerous community leaders, and hundreds of volunteers have contributed to the success of the program.
“There are a lot of neat stories woven into the success of the town,” Spohn said. “God has blessed us with good people and benefactors. I wish every town had that. You don’t want to see small towns die.”
“We look forward to keeping the store open,” Davis said, “and there will be other good things coming down the pike.”