BAXTER SPRINGS - Buckle up Baxter Springs, things are about to take off in a big way. Rumors of a major development planned in downtown Baxter Springs were confirmed by owners this week, and the results could be a significant boom for the entire region.
"This is a big step in creating a distinguished uniqueness for the community," said Baxter Springs Chamber of Commerce President Don Snow. "It will help make Baxter a go-to destination, and not just a drive-by."
Baxter Springs has a long and rich history that for the past near-century has been entwined with Route 66. Though Kansas has the shortest stretch of the 'Mother Road' of any state on her 2,448 mile journey from Chicago to Los Angeles, all of the Kansas portion lies in Cherokee County. A fact locals are more than proud to boldly proclaim, and that pride and charm played a large factor in bringing in what could potentially be a substantial economic boost.
"I met with they Mayor, the Police of Chief, the Chamber of Commerce; Baxter has really rolled out the red carpet for us," said David Hickmott, of "Decades of Wheels".
So what is "Decades of Wheels"?
It's the name of the company that just purchased almost the entire west side of the 1100 block of Military Avenue, with plans to open a new attraction of epic portions. "Decades of Wheels" will feature a one-of-a-kind car museum that boasts a number of famous cars from films.
"We're going to have 30 cars, of historical significance, on display at all times, and that inventory is going to rotate every 30 days out of a much larger collection, so there's always going to be something new to come see," Hickmott said.
Hickmott said the warm welcome and community feel of Baxter Springs made the city the ideal location for what will be so much more than just a car display museum.
"There's going to be live music, a full restaurant, a bistro, craft beer, an indoor go-kart track," said Hickmott. "It's really going to be the sort of place the whole family can come and spend time. A little bit of something for everybody."
"Decades of Wheels" is set to open this October. Hickmott was excited to announce there will be several well-known, internationally touring bands that will be performing during the grand opening weekend, but wasn't at liberty to announce who just yet.
Construction is expected to kick off on May 19, with a special "golden sledge hammer" ceremony courtesy of Baxter Mayor Randy Trease.
-- Jordan Zabel is the managing editor for the Cherokee County News-Advocate. He can be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org.