Kansans paint their town to spread joy

Positive Connections

KECHI, Kan. (KSNW) – Residents in one Kansas town are using their creativity to spread cheer during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“With all of the residents who have been having to stay home, we thought let’s make a cool project for the town and let’s paint all of the fire hydrants in town,” said Kechi Mayor John Speer.

In a matter of weeks, Kechi’s fire hydrants went from drab to fab.

“Oh, we have got Pacman down the street. We have got sunflowers and Spongebob. We’ve got the character from The Office, geometric designs, KState, KU, Wichita State,” Speer explained.

The creations are a community effort. People of all ages have pitched in.

“One guy asked me what my plan was. I had no plan. I just let it flow out of me,” said Rollin Karg, 75. “You can take something pretty ordinary and just what you do with the paint you can create something entirely on the artistic side.”

“My grandparents asked us to paint the fire hydrant in front of their house and it was a really cool experience because we got to do with my cousins and my aunt and everybody just helped do the fire hydrant,” said Natalee Delgado.

Natalee and her family also helped to paint a fire hydrant in honor of the late Don Hall, a popular Wichita radio personality.

“We really wanted to give back to the community and we knew that he (Hall) made a really big impact on WSU, so we wanted to include that,” explained Natalee.

“We thought it would be something nice to kind of give back to him and show him the love from the city,” said Sarah Delgado.

Residents have transformed about 50 of the town’s fire hydrants. The mayor said he hopes every hydrant will have its own splash of color soon.

“It means a lot to me because I feel like people have been wanting to do this, do something positive. and I think long after the coronavirus has spent its time here, this artwork will continue to live on in Kechi,” Speer said.

Any resident can paint a hydrant. Speer said they must fill out an application detailing their idea. Once the idea is approved, the city will supply the artists with the paint.

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