When Lori Shalberg passed away in 2018 after a long battle with cancer, Kiowa County lost a beloved resident, athlete, horsewoman, role model, friend and volunteer who, for years, had devoted her time and experience to groups like the Sheridan Lake Fire Department and the Kiowa County Hospital District and continued to do so as long as her health allowed.
POOLING OUR RESOURCE
The cover story in the September 11, 2019 edition of the Kiowa County Independent -- “POOL LIKELY TO CLOSE PERMANENTLY” -- seems to have sparked a fairly strong response from both people in the community and those who may not live here any longer but feel strong ties to home. Comments on social media and phone calls to the newspaper’s office ranged from shock that such a decision is likely to actually be made to sadness at the passing of an era to searching for some force somewhere to blame for an old building getting older to strong encouragement to do what’s necessary to build a new facility.
A little less than a year ago, KCEDF—with generous support from SECED, the Kiowa County Commissioners, the Prowers County Commissioners, GN Bank in Eads, Canyons and Plains Regional Heritage Task Force and Downtown Colorado Inc—was awarded a grant from the Colorado Office of Tourism. The project proposed by KCEDF had an ambitious goal: to create both a website and a mobile app that would promote the unique, authentic aspects that are a part of the 6 counties that make up southeastern Colorado. The target audience: visitors, from both inside and outside of Colorado who are looking for a different kind of travel experience.
For almost seventy years, the public pool has been an established, traditional part of the summer landscape in Eads. Countless numbers of kids from Kiowa County have learned to swim in the waters of that little blue square, which was exactly what was intended when a local men’s group led the move for the community of Eads to work together to build the pool and bath house in the 1950s. Despite the project being launched in the middle of severely “adverse times for crops”, despite the project taking several years to complete, it was truly a community labor of love as everyone from merchants to local school club members contributed something when there was hardly anything to spare.
"We Built This"
Of all the community projects that have been accomplished in Eads in recent years, it’s a safe bet that restoration of the Plains Theater would be among those at the top. The history is well known: a group of high school students came up with the idea to restore the movie theater that had fallen into a state of disrepair to such a degree that demolishing the structure was quickly becoming the only thing to do. That idea was embraced by a group of people who worked for more than ten years to make it a reality. Their effort resulted in a great theater showing first run films on a digital projector that is still in operation today.