Small Town has Large "Can-do" Attitude
Adrian Arnoldy prepares for work in the community
center that will soon be renovated by community
town has large “can-do” attitude
By Lori Thielen
Tipton, home to approximately 240 people in north
central Kansas, has been booming the last several
years, according to Mayor Adrian Arnoldy.
big focus has been trying to get the community back—to
rebuild and grow the community,” says Arnoldy.
“Building the school was the big thing because
we wouldn’t be doing any of these other projects
if it wasn’t for the school. Now we’re
trying to keep things going and growing.”
members construct the roof of the new Tipton
Christian School in the summer of 2003. Volunteers
built the school in six weeks to be ready for
the new school year.
school Arnoldy refers to is the one built by community
volunteers in a mere six weeks to avoid losing students
and the community to consolidation and school district
reorganization in 2003. The new Tipton Christian
School now houses kindergarten through fifth grade.
The Tipton Catholic High School was allowed to absorb
sixth through eighth grade in 2003, becoming the
Tipton Catholic Junior-Senior High School.
was an effort many outsiders looked upon with doubt
at first, but the community pulled through. Kent
Hake, city councilman for approximately 12 years,
said the “can-do” attitude is common
the years we haven’t let things that look
like an obstacle stop us,” says Hake. “We’ve
been told a lot of times that you can’t do
it, but we’ve proven them wrong.”
who has served as mayor for 24 years, says the building
of the school had very positive effects on Tipton.
say building the school was a big turning point
for our town and attitudes started changing when
people saw what was possible,” says Arnoldy.
addition to building their own school, the city
was awarded a Kansas Department of Commerce Community
Development Block Grant in 2003 to overbuild its
water distribution system. In 2005 they were awarded
a Kansas Department of Commerce KAN STEP grant to
renovate an existing community center using volunteer
labor. Their newest accomplishment is placing the
former Tipton Elementary School building, which
the city had purchased from the school district,
for sale on E-Bay. The building was recently purchased
by Markay Specialty Schools from St. George, Utah,
which plans to open Tipton Academy for troubled
new school proposes to bring up to 40 jobs to the
community, creating additional excitement in the
(the school owners) saw something in Tipton they
really like because we’re small, but also
very supportive of what they’re trying to
do,” says Hake. “We’re real anxious
for them to get up and going and see what directions
community is in the process of identifying alumni
to come back to work at the academy.
“Our main objective now is to get families
to move back to Tipton, which will help keep our
school going among other things,” says Arnoldy.
“Right now we actually have more jobs than
people, which is extremely rare for a small community.”
The reason Tipton has been so successful in helping
itself is anyone’s guess, but Arnoldy has
around here have been brought up that it’s
their duty to keep things going and people have
passed that on,” says Arnoldy.
attitude is carried out by local business owners
as well. For instance, Keith and Debra Houghton,
who own and operate Ringneck Ranch, a gamebird hunting
business, host approximately 800 visitors each year
and make every effort to do business locally.
dedicated to keeping as much business locally as
we can,” says Debra. “If we can’t
get something in Tipton, then we’ll try the
who moved back in 1989 with her husband to the family
farm that had been in Keith’s family since
1872, said their visitors are also impressed with
the Tipton community.
surprised at the openness of the way we live,”
says Debra. “The trust and sincerity of people
really impresses them.”
sincerity of people is what keeps the community
going, according to Arnoldy.
It is so important for people to volunteer and do
things without pay,” says Arnoldy. “Belonging
to organizations that carry out community activities
is also an important function.”
Tipton resident Joanne Brummer, who serves as city
clerk, says volunteerism and cooperation is crucial
to small communities in particular.
have a great sense of community in Tipton and realize
the importance of the family, church, school and
all the organizations working together for the common
good,” says Brummer. “It’s important
to set long-term goals in order to develop a sense
of purpose and pride.”
takes a lot of work on everyone’s part to
keep the community moving forward, something that
is helped by fundraisers. The St. Boniface Catholic
Church Picnic, which takes place the first Saturday
every July is the big fundraiser of the year.
“We’ve got fundraisers going on every
day of the year,” says Arnoldy. “But
all the community organizations work toward the
same goal of the church picnic. That event really
keeps us going.”
Mayor Arnoldy and the rest of the community hope
the boom in Tipton continues for many years.
For more information on Tipton Schools, visit www.tiptonschools.com.
For more information on Ringneck Ranch, visit www.ringneckranch.net.