VALLEY CENTER, Kan. (KSNW) – While some small towns in Kansas are shrinking, some are bursting with opportunity.
It has a lot to do with the community pride.
Valley Center saw a more than 7% population increase from 2010 to 2018 and with that has come more businesses and an expanding school district.
Kelly Knoblauch is a second grade teacher at Wheatland Elementary.
“This is my first year in Valley Center,” she said. “My husband got a job in Wichita.”
Knoblauch’s kids are also students in the district, which affected her decision on where she wanted to work.
“So I started looking for districts that are known for their community spirit and small town spirit, but a premiere district,” she said.
Her kids are part of a historical year for Valley Center schools.
“Quite remarkable, we’re increasing 124 students which is pretty large growth,” said Dr. Cory Gibson, superintendent of Valley Center Schools. “About four percent for our population.”
New business is growing too.
That goes for businesses like the Cottage Market on Main Street that opened two years ago.
“We wanted to support our community, so we wanted to find a location on Main Street,” said co-owner Amanda Maness.
Within six months, she already noticed the profit.
“We saw 200% growth in the first year and that’s why we expanded and added more,” said Maness.
With more business and families moving to town, the city continues to see new homes being built.
“We’ve seen a growth in our single-family homes, our duplexes,” said Ryan Shrack, community development director for the city of Valley Center. “We’ve even seen growth in our senior housing.”
“You can just feel the pride and the energy, and that’s why we moved here,” said Maness.
KSN spoke with other Wichita area communities with similar populations to Valley Center.
They say the distance to Wichita and its entertainment and amenities plays a role in their growth.