Salina is located in central Kansas, where it is the county seat of Saline County. The city was originally settled in 1856 as a trading post because of its prime location along the Saline River. Salina's first settlers made a living by hunting and trading with Native Americans and pioneers who were heading west along the Smoky Hill Trail. The pioneer spirit still exists among Salina's residents. The community celebrates its heritage while continuing to move forward economically. The population of Salina is approximately 46,000.
The residents of Salina enjoy a climate that gives them cool winters, warm springs and hot dry summers. In the winter, the average snowfall is about 19 inches, while rainfall averages about 32 inches each year.
NEIGHBORHOODS AND DISTRICTS
The city of Salina covers 22.8 square miles. There are approximately 20,000 homes and apartments in Salina, and nearly 62 percent of them were built between 1940 and 1960.
The city is proud of its historic downtown district, which features more than 300 businesses and beautiful streetscapes that include plazas with fountains, walking alleys, shelters and benches and well-lit parking lots.
Some of the more popular neighborhoods in Salina are Crawford Street, Broadway Boulevard, Centennial Road, and Magnolia Road. Other prominent neighborhoods include:
- Brookville is a quiet, rural neighborhood with established single-family homes and mobile homes. The residents here work mostly in manufacturing or as laborers and generally have an upper-middle income.
- Stimmel Road is one of Salina's more suburban neighborhoods. It features mostly older single-family homes, along with some mobile homes and small apartment buildings.
ECONOMY AND INDUSTRIES
In 1867, railroads came to Salina, causing a population boom and bringing new business opportunities. Wheat had become a dominant crop by this time, and soon a steam-powered flour mill was built. By that time alfalfa had been introduced to local farmers to grow as feed for dairy cattle. By 1900 Salina was the third-largest producer of alfalfa in Kansas and the sixth-largest in the nation.
Today agriculture remains Salina's main industry and its many grain elevators dominate the landscape. Food manufacturing is also a major business in the city, and the Schwan Food Co. is Salina's biggest employer. Metal fabrication and machinery manufacturing also make up a large part of the local economy.
Visitors to Salina have their choice of science- and nature-related attractions:
- Kansas Fishes Exhibit is the largest freestanding aquarium in Kansas and features between 50 to 100 native fishes, including bluegill, channel catfish, crappie, wipers (striped bass hybrids and white bass), largemouth bass, and white bass.
- Rolling Hills Refuge Wildlife Center features a museum that immerses visitors in displays evoking seven different regions, from the rainforest to the Arctic Circle. Animatronic robots tell about the ecosystems of the world. The museum also has a domed ADM theater that shows 3-D movies, and a zoo at the center features more than 100 wildlife species in beautiful naturalistic environments on 60 acres of land.
- Lakewood Discovery Center helps children and adults develop their interest in nature with exciting displays that depict insect life cycles, geology, prehistoric life and more. There is also an urban wildlife habitat, as well as rooms filled with animals and plants.
- Smoky Hill Museum offers visitors a glimpse into the past of the Smoky Hills Region. Visitors can explore an 1850s sod dugout that represents the kind of homes many early settlers lived in, have fun in the children's hands-on gallery, and explore other regional exhibits.
- Central Kansas Flywheels Museum highlights the agricultural history of the city, featuring antique tractors, washing machines and radios from the early 20th century.
Salina is home to several colleges and universities.
- Kansas Wesleyan University is a private four-year college associated with the United Methodist Church.
- Kansas State University-Salina is the Technology and Aviation wing of Kansas State and is typically ranked in the top five aviation programs in the country.
- Brown Mackie College-Salina is a small school with an enrollment of more than 300 students. The college offers programs in such courses of study as business, computers, and other career-oriented fields.
Founded in 1871, the Salina Journal is the city's weekly newspaper.
Local FM radio stations include:
- KHCD 89.5 FM (Radio station for nearby Hutchinson Community College)
- KCVS 91.7 FM (Religious radio)
- KYEZ 93.7 FM (Country)
- KSKG 99.9 FM (Country)
- KZBZ 104.9 FM (Rock)
AM radio stations in Salina include:
- KINA 910 AM (Country)
- KSAL 1150 AM (News and talk)
Local television stations in Salina include:
- KAAS Channel 18 (Fox affiliate)