A ceremony on Monday will honor one of the most influential women in the history of Salina. The first woman mayor will be honored when the north outside plaza of the Tony’s Pizza Events Center is dedicated as the “Karen M. Graves Plaza.”
Karen Graves served on the Salina City Commission from 1977-1983, including a term as Salina’s first woman mayor in 1979-1980. Graves was Salina’s second female city commissioner and first female mayor.
During her time in city government Graves was part of the expansion and relocation of the Smoky Hill Museum to its present location, and a part of the Salina Bicentennial Center project, now the Tony’s Pizza Events Center.
Prior to her time in city government, Graves co-chaired the Salina American Revolution Bicentennial Commission. The organization launched many long-standing Salina traditions, including the Smoky Hill River Festival.
“With the recent renovation of the Bicentennial Center and its re-branding as the Tony’s Pizza Event Center, there’s an opportunity to recognize and honor the history of the Center, as well as the contributions of a leader and a true pioneer in Salina City government,” said City Commissioner Melissa Rose Hodges. “It’s my hope that the reception will provide a great opportunity for Salinans to reminisce about the incredible accomplishments of the 1970s and 1980s as we honor our first woman mayor, Karen Graves.”
A pedestal and plaque honoring graves have been in place for about a week. They will be formally recognized on Monday.
A dedication ceremony will be held at 1 p.m. Monday at the site. The public is invited to attend both the dedication, and a reception to follow in the Tony’s Pizza Events Center lobby with Graves and her family.
(CLICK PHOTOS TO ENLARGE)