In 1887, farmers, cowboys, transients and mules built the Big Well.
Now, a partnership of museum designers will try to add more wonder to one of the Eight Wonders of Kansas.
They plan to build a below-grade, high-tech, interactive museum around the rustic World’s Largest Hand-Dug Well, which was formed with stones hauled by wagon from a river.
Designers say the museum will tell Greensburg’s multiple tales — the tale of the well, the tale of the tornado, and the tale of the “green” rebirth of the community.
The city is allocating $3 million for it, hoping that the well and museum will draw tourist dollars to help it grow.
“We’ve all been down the well,” said Steve Hewitt, city administrator, “but this will be something new and different, and capture a new audience.”
BNIM Architects of Kansas City, Mo., which did the master plan for rebuilding the town and designed many of its new buildings, is designing the structure of the museum. Project Explore Inc., an Overland Park nonprofit museum consultant, is collecting stories and artifacts to provide the content.
They needed somebody to design the exhibits, and decided to aim for the top, so they approached Ralph Appelbaum Associates Inc. of New York.
That firm designed exhibits at the American Museum of Natural History in New York, the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C., the Country Music Hall of Fame in Nashville and Bill Clinton’s presidential library in Little Rock.
It didn’t take long for the firm to decide to join the project in Greensburg.
“It’s the stories that attract us to a project, “said Tim Ventimiglia, an associate at Ralph Appelbaum who is directing the project.
“We don’t think of it as a small town as much as we think of it as a big story that happened in a small town.”
Ventimiglia was impressed by Greensburg’s effort to rebuild after a 2007 tornado destroyed 95 percent of the town.
“We’re very interested in the kind of endurance and stamina and all the vision that represented,” he said. “Like the traits of early pioneers, that character is somehow evident in this will to rebuild and re-think the town.
“It’s like a second settlement.”
Ventimiglia called the Big Well “a terrific historic structure” and a “remarkable engineering feat in its day.”
“It’s a terrific space. You almost don’t have to do anything,” he said. “But we’re interested in making it accessible and inspirational for people who stop in Greensburg.”
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced the approval of a $17.4 million loan to Greensburg Wind Farm, LLC, to provide financing for the 10 wind turbine project that will supply power to the community of Greensburg, Kan. This investment is consistent with the Obama administration’s efforts to create new, green jobs in rural America and generate clean, renewable energy.
“This project will not only enhance our country’s long-term energy security by producing clean, renewable energy, but also create green jobs and generate income in the local community,” said Vilsack. “As the Obama Administration continues working to rebuild and revitalize rural America, Greensburg stands out as an example of the promise and potential in communities throughout the country.”
The total project cost is estimated at $23.3 million. Approximately, $17.4 million will come in the form of a loan to Greensburg Wind Farm, LLC, a subsidiary of John Deere Renewables, with the remaining $5.8 million, or 25 percent of the total project cost, being provided through an equity investment by Deere & Company. The loan will support the 10 wind turbine project that will generate 12.5 MWs of electricity that will serve the electric needs of the City of Greensburg and other rural communities through the Kansas Power Pool.
After a Tornado, a Kansas Town Rebuilds Green
Even if it were the only one of its kind, Mike Estes’s brand-new, energy-efficient, wind-powered, water-conserving, environmentally sensitive John Deere dealership here would attract considerable attention in Kansas. This is a state that consistently ranks among the top 10 in oil and natural gas production, and routinely elects to Congress skeptics on matters of energy conservation and environmental regulation.
But in July, Mr. Estes’s 28,500-square-foot, $3 million BTI Greensburg dealership (BTI stands for Bucklin Tractor and Implement, the name of the original store, which has since expanded to four locations) earned the United States Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design platinum certification, the highest designation, Six other buildings anticipate LEED certification.
John Deere announces that the recently rebuilt BTI Greensburg (Kansas) dealership has received the platinum level of LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Building Design) certification by the U.S. Green Building Council.
The platinum level certification is the highest level Green Building Rating available and is the nationally accepted benchmark for design, construction and operation of green buildings. The John Deere dealership was completely destroyed by a tornado on May 4, 2007, along with the rest of the town of Greensburg.
According to Mike Estes, general manager for the BTI Greensburg dealership, the new 28,500-square-foot facility was built to LEED platinum standards as part of the overall reconstruction of the city and Kiowa County, and for the obvious environmental and business benefits.
“Most of the other buildings in Greensburg have been rebuilt to various LEED standards and we wanted our dealership to participate in the ‘Greensburg Green Town’ theme,” Estes says. “We decided to rebuild to platinum level certification to serve as a model for other businesses in the community, as well as for other John Deere dealerships that might want to use some of these greener technologies in their facilities.”
Estes adds that incorporating the LEED standards into the new facility has turned out to make “good business sense” for the dealership. “We’ve utilized more sustainable and environmentally friendly materials in everything from the building to the landscaping. In addition, we’ve significantly reduced water usage, electricity and maintenance needs, and we’ve created a very attractive, bright and inviting retail and service facility that customers seem to enjoy.”
LEED certification facts about the BTI Greensburg dealership:
- Uses 51.5 percent less electricity than code-required minimum performance, which saves 161,911 kWh annually — enough electricity to power 14 homes for one year.
- 18,600 kWh are produced on-site by two wind turbines.
- 64 tons of the 73 tons of construction waste were diverted from landfill for re-use and recycling.
- Uses 48.8 percent less water than code-required minimum, saving 38,750 gallons of water annually.
- Utilizes low VOC carpet, paints, and sealants throughout the facility to ensure healthy indoor air quality.
- Has 23 skylights in the retail and service areas to utilize natural lighting as much as possible.
For more information about the BTI Greensburg John Deere dealership, visit www.gti-bti.com.
John Deere (Deere & Company — NYSE: DE) is the world’s leading provider of advanced products and services for agriculture and forestry and a major provider of advanced products and services for construction, lawn and turf care, landscaping and irrigation. John Deere also provides financial services worldwide and manufactures and markets engines used in heavy equipment. Since it was founded in 1837, the company has extended its heritage of integrity, quality, commitment and innovation around the globe.
Mayor Bob Dixson told a crowd of spectators why the new Greensburg SunChips Business Incubator is truly the lifeblood of bringing back exising business and provding an incentive for new and prospective businesses as part of the Greensburg recovery.
Located at the busy intersection of Highway 54/400 and what will become Greensburg’s new Main Street, the new Leed Platinum building provides state-of-the-art facilities for an extremely rental cost to businesses .
The building is owned and operated by the City of Greensburg. Funding was provided by USDA Rural Development, SunChips/Frito Lay and celebrity Leonardo Dicaprio.
The bottom floor offers retail space while the second floor provides professional offices. Already, the building is home to an art glass gallery, paint store, massage therapy/aromatherapy herbal store, law and accounting offices, psychological therapy offices, sign shop, and new Kiowa County Chamber of Commerce and Economic Development Corporation office. Only a few spaces are still vacant.
The ecologically green building utilizes solar panels to supplement electricity, rain water and gray water collection and re-use, high-efficiency heating and cooling that uses a special earth heat sink. Earth-friendly furnishings and building materials are used. Recycling bins are located throughout the building. Even parking spaces are designated for car-pooling and high-efficiency, high-mileage automobiles.
The building is one of the early-risers of the many “green” public buildings in Greensburg. Click here for more information on the floor plans and building information for this innovative way to help Greensburg continue to grow.
In listening to Gary Fisher of USDA Rural Development at the grand opening of the Greensburg SunChips Business Incubator, one thing became very clear—USDA Rural Development played a major role in helping Greensburg recover.
Coming on the scene almost immediately after the tragedy of May 4, 2007, USDA rural development began a systematic process of helping to evaluate and fund many recovery projects.
As the lead federal agency serving rural America, USDA Rural Development aims to increase economic opportunity in rural America and improve quality of life for all rural Americans.
Working as early as providing funding for the Greensburg Water Tower in April, 2007 (with eight participating partners), they have participated in financing for several housing projects, the business incubator, the county courthouse repair, city hall, the upcoming Big Well Museum, conferences and meetings and other projects. It is projected that the USDA/Greensburg/Kiowa County initiative will provide between $60 to $75 million in USDA funding.
There’s no question that USDA’s focus on Rural Development makes the Greensburg area a shining example of a successful, fast-acting federal program.