Passion for River Project

The birthplace of Salina can be traced to a bend in the Smoky Hill River that was settled 157 years ago.

Floods and a rerouted channel have left behind a murky shadow of the past.

Now the “Friends of the River” organization want to reclaim some of the river’s lost beauty and reshape Salina’s future.

Coming up Wednesday night is an educational meeting that will focus on the economic benefits a restored river channel could mean to the community.

Executive Director Jeff Shoemaker of The Greenway Foundation will share the story of the successful renewal of the South Platte River had in Denver.

Shoemaker tells KSAL News that the size of the river and the size of the community is not the most important factor in the process, “It takes passion and all four legs of the progress chair,” he said.

“Which is private, public, political and philanthropic. When you take me, myself and I out of the room and you bring we, us and our into the room – the size of the city, the size of the river does not matter,” Shoemaker said.

According to Shoemaker the restoration of the South Platte River which began in 1974 has meant $15 billion of economic benefits in the surrounding area.

Shoemaker will make his presentation Wednesday, October 14th at 7:00 p.m. at the Salina Community Theater.

More history on the Friends of the River organization and the story of the river can be found online at