Promoting a local treasure

Scandia man elected chair of US 36 Highway Association

By Deb Hadachek Telescope editor

Paul Kallman can rattle off a long list of not-to-be-missed businesses and sites just a few blocks off US36 in most towns from the Colorado to the Missouri line

That encyclopedic knowledge and passion for the highway makes him an obvious choice for the next US 36 Highway Association president. Kallman was elected to head the board at the association’s 104th annual meeting June 9 in Norton.

His goal: make others fall in love with the style of traveling US36 offers.

“We want people to use US36 as an alternate to I-70 or I-80,” he says.

Based in Phillipsburg

The US36 office is in Phillipsburg, and a US36 museum is located in Norcatur.

Serving as officers along with Kallman are Bill Phillipi of Marysville, vice-president, Christiane ‘Criquet’ Cole, Phillipsburg, secretary and Kathy Beard of Phillipsburg treasurer.

Just a few weeks into his term Kallman as achieved another goal: to make sure every county along US36 has an active board member serving on the association, which meets twice a year. He and Cole plan to visit other counties on the US36 corridor in July to recruit more participation and support to the organization.

“I think it’s important to visit with people face-to-face rather than sending a letter or an email,” he says.

Kallman, began his relationship with the US 36 Association in 1999 as a supportive member, then in 2002 becoming Board Member, representing Republic County.

It was Kallman, together with Jane Ann Carlgren, Jim Erickson and other supportive members in Scandia, who originated the US36 Treasure Hunt event, which launched September 2006. The event is in keeping with the association’s mission statement; “Promoting the use of the road, which brings commerce and tourism to our doorsteps.” Treasure Hunt will celebrate its 12th Anniversary September 15 – 17.

What began with Scandia, Belleville and Washington now includes 37 towns along US 36 from the Colorado border to Elwood on the Missouri River.

Support KDOT

Kallman said the association board members have discussed making the Treasure Hunt it’s only mission. But the three-day event is only part of the US36 experience, Kallman says. As the owner of an antique store on  US36 in Belleville, Kallman recently visited with a family from eastern Kansas on a “daycation” to see communities they don’t normally visit.

At times during its century-long history, members have lobbied for US36 to become four-lane. That might actually work against the communities on the route if the highway was routed around the business districts.

“But we need to be an organization that supports the Kansas Department of Transportation,” he says. “It’s not right that the KDOT monies have been taken to fund other state operations.

“I often think how lucky I am to live where I do,” he says. “We have good roads, and we need to continue to support them.”

US HWY 36 Magazine –