About

Choose Ottawa County Mission: 

Our Mission is to promote economic growth and prosperity throughout all of Ottawa County. Through strategic initiatives, we work to retain existing jobs and attract new businesses. Improving the availability of affordable and high-quality housing is a cornerstone of our efforts because of its vital role in creating inclusive and sustainable communities. We are dedicated to enhancing the overall quality of life for residents, making our county an attractive place to live, work, and raise a family.

Leadership

Choose Ottawa County is comprised of board members from various communities who collaborate to make our county the best it can be – for current and future generations. Our current board of directors includes:

  • Owen Kindall (Minneapolis), President  
  • Dakota Rholeder (Bennington), Secretary  
  • Brandon Baugh (Tescott)  
  • Kimberly Bird (Minneapolis)  
  • Tyson McGuire (Delphos)  
  • Katrena Nichols (Minneapolis)  
  • Katrina Pollet (Delphos)  
  • Cade Rensink (Minneapolis)  
  • Jeff Shamburg (Bennington)  
  • Alan Wedel (Minneapolis)  

Katie Vanderhoff, our Community Development Coordinator, collaborates closely with the board of directors to advance Choose Ottawa County’s mission. Her primary focus is to aid local businesses, promote community engagement, and facilitate grant opportunities. Katie is dedicated to fostering economic growth and prosperity in our communities. Katie is passionate about community development and is optimistic about the future of our county. 

Ottawa County History:

Ottawa County, Kansas, holds a rich history dating back to its establishment on February 17, 1860. The Ottawa Indians, who gave the county its name, were the original inhabitants. The first white settlers arrived in 1859, and the county seat, Minneapolis, was founded in 1866. Agriculture played a pivotal role in the county’s development, with wheat being the primary crop. The arrival of the Union Pacific Railroad in 1867 boosted the economy and population. In the 1870s, a grasshopper plague devastated the county, but the settlers persevered and rebuilt. In the early 20th century, Ottawa County became known for its poultry industry. During World War II, the county contributed to the war effort with the establishment of the Salina Army Airfield. Today, Ottawa County is a thriving agricultural and industrial center, home to over 5,000 residents. It remains a testament to the resilience of its people and the importance of agriculture in Kansas.