By Carol C. Neugent
He’s back. As he begins the work of fulfilling his campaign promise to ‘re-energize’ Haysville, newly elected Mayor Bruce Armstrong, a former mayor and council member, returned to City Hall last week.
Armstrong’s enthusiasm for Haysville’s future is both apparent and infectious and he is wasting no time getting started.
“I want to see the city succeed better than I think it has been,” Armstrong said recently. “I kept watching the commercial and residential growth we weren’t getting…we can’t truly grow the city without growing its value.”
Armstrong’s agenda for his four-year term includes growing residential, commercial and industrial development, a revamped street program, and community involvement.
The recent conflict between the former mayor and Haysville Forward, Inc., the city’s economic development committee, isn’t going to be an issue according to Armstrong.
“All the people involved should be working towards the idea of improving the city,” Armstrong said, pledging the city’s continuing support of HFI.
Hiring a community/economic development director is something Armstrong believes is extremely important.
“We need someone working full-time meeting with people and promoting the city,” he said. Armstrong doesn’t plan to move forward, however, until he talks with the HFI membership. “I want to meet with HFI first to get their ideas.”
Armstrong said he heard a lot of feedback during his campaign about streets and the appearance of the city.
“There needs to be a long-term street plan that includes repair and maintenance,” he said.
Armstrong plans to review the past efforts and build a new, multi-faceted program.
“Along with streets we need to improve the quality of life through parks and recreation projects,” Armstrong said.
He sees these types of improvements as a way to also improve the appearance of Haysville.
Armstrong said he believes community involvement is the key to accomplishing anything. He plans to work hard to include residents, groups, and organizations.
“I would like to get the whole city working together,” Armstrong said. “I would like to get as much input and as many people involved as possible.”
The relationship between the city and school district is critical according to Armstrong.
“We need to immediately reinstitute the meetings between the (city) council and (school) board,” he said.
Youth involvement is of particular interest to Armstrong. He said it is important to involve the youth in the community as much as possible.
“If we get [the youth] involved early, they are more likely to stick around and become part of the community,” he said.
Armstrong said he understands early involvement. He was first elected to city council in 1980. Since then, he represented both Wards I and III on the council. While on the council, he was elected president of the council many times.
Armstrong first became mayor when he assumed the office following Tim Norton’s election to the Sedgwick County Commission. Armstrong was subsequently elected to two terms as mayor from 2000 to 2008. He then chose not to seek re-election.
Armstrong and his wife, Susan, have called Haysville home most of their lives and are both Campus High School graduates. They raised their two children, Matthew and Zachary, in Haysville where they also attended Haysville schools.
The Armstrongs chose Haysville as the community to start and grow a successful advertising agency, Armstrong Chamberlin.
Armstrong chose Haysville and now Haysville has, again, chosen Armstrong to lead the effort to “re-energize” the city.