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Kiowa County Signal - Kiowa County, KS
  • Fleener-Beck family honored with memorial plaza

  • The City Council unanimously approved construction of the Fleener-Beck Memorial Plaza during regular session Monday. The city will pay Wichita-based artist Todd Whipple $35,000 to construct the memorial commemorating Kiowa County pioneers.


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  • The City Council unanimously approved construction of the Fleener-Beck Memorial Plaza during regular session Monday. The city will pay Wichita-based artist Todd Whipple $35,000 to construct the memorial commemorating Kiowa County pioneers.
    “The Fleener-Beck Memorial Plaza is an integral part of the Big Well Museum,” said City Administrator Ed Truelove. “It will be funded through the Big Well Museum and funds have been secured through that project.”
    The city entered into a separate contract with Whipple, which Truelove explained was a result of the memorial’s projected finish date coming months after the March 26 grand opening of the Big Well Museum.
    The contract requires the memorial to be completed by Sept. 1, 2012, though Whipple, who attended the meeting, commented that it may be completed sooner, should there be no complications or delays.
    A contractual payment of $12,000 was to be made after the approval of the contract, with an additional $12,000 paid over the mid-point and finish and $11,000 due upon delivery of the sculpture.
    The Memorial will be placed on the northwestern corner of Wisconsin Avenue and Sycamore Street on property long owned by the Fleener family.
    John Fleener’s parents Emily (Beck) and Weaver Fleener settled on the land in 1917, and raised their four children on the small lot located at 207 W. Wisconsin Ave.
    The Fleener and Beck families have long histories in Greensburg and Kiowa County having been lawyers, farmers, morticians and carpenters.
    John Fleener’s grandfather was a pioneer in Kiowa County and helped construct the Big Well. Currently two Fleener sons operate legacy businesses in Greensburg, Fleener Furniture and Flooring and Fleener Funeral Home.
    “I like the design of it,” said Fleener on Saturday afternoon. “I like the clouds and the pioneers and the look of it.”
    Fleener gifted the property to the city in 2007 for the Big Well Museum and asked the city council to consider placing a Veteran’s Memorial and a Fleener-Beck Memorial Plaza on the land. The Veteran’s Memorial was eventually moved and constructed in Mullinville.
    Last year Fleener went to the Greensburg City Council and asked the city to donate $15,000 to the Veterans Memorial in Mullinville, reminding them that he had donated his family’s land to the Big Well Museum, which needed the land for an adjacent parking lot.
    The city donated $5,000 from the non-profit grant program to the memorial.
    “I sat in on the architects meetings with Stacy Barnes and I got to see the design,” said Fleener. “I think it pretty well depicts Greensburg and Kiowa County pioneers. I had hoped for a little more wheat and cow and things that are on the Kiowa County logo, but they couldn’t get all of that in there. But I am pleased with it.”
    Page 2 of 2 - The sculpture, which will stand more than 10 feet tall, will bear the state motto “ad astra per aspera” (“to the stars with difficulty’) and will “honor pioneers and builders of Kiowa County Past Present and Future.”
    “I think it means that that name will carry on,” added Fleener. “We’re honored.”

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