Imperial (pop. 2,071), winner of the coveted Governor’s Showcase Community Award in 2012, has many reasons to be proud of its community. Known for its “can-do attitude,” the city has combined its large volunteer base with local donations from businesses, service organizations, and individuals to accomplish several key goals.
Imperial citizens voted passage of an increased sales tax in 2007 to build the Chase County Facilities Sports Field Complex which features a crown jewel – a new swimming pool – and a locker room and bathhouse facility with an adjacent athletic field built by partner Chase County Schools. In a natural progression, given its proximity to the new swimming pool, improvements were made to Campbell Park as well.
The lively town celebrated its quasiquicentennial (125th year) in July 2010 by hosting a birthday party complete with cake decorating contests, races, a city-wide garage sale, as well as many other festivities. Other events included the 2011 “Take Pride in Imperial” program which involved residents of all ages helping to paint curbs and fire hydrants and clean up streets and highways. A gym in the city offices received a new coat of paint and a floating sport court floor. State-of-the-art projection, surround sound equipment, and a new screen were purchased for Imperial Theater; and a daycare was quickly organized at the senior services facility when a local day care announced plans to close. “Meeting of the Minds,” a group of citizens who meet quarterly to discuss ways to enhance life in Imperial were an instrumental part of the planning process of these successes.
Volunteers and city staff are responsible for coordinating the priorities of Imperial citizens and transforming them into successfully implemented plans. Imperial’s community development director, Leslie Carlholm, proudly stated, “The quality of life we enjoy in Imperial and Chase County is founded on generations of volunteers planning and building for the future.”