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Party in the Park a go
Annual fest to be held Aug. 8
party in the park a go
Shown is the Wet/Dry Parade from the 2019 Great Bend Party in the Park. The City Council Monday night weighed whether or not to hold the 2020 installment due to COVID-19.

City receives clean audit

Great Bend City Council meeting at a glance

Here is a quick look at what the Great Bend City Council did Monday night:

• Held public hearings over applying for Community Development Block Grant economic development and meal program grants. After the hearings, the council approved resolutions authorizing the city to apply for the funding.

The city is applying for up to $300,000 to used for grants to businesses impacted by COVID-19 and up to $100,000 to help non-profits provide food services to the needy.

The funds fall under the Kansas Department of  Commerce’s Community Development Block Grant COVID-19 Grant Program Economic Development/Meals category. The program was awarded funding from the from the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, also known as the CARES Act.

• Approved the vacation of a 20-foot unimproved east side portion of White Sands Drive located north of the intersection of White Sands Drive and Quail Creek Drive.

Chris and Deena Smith have requested the vacation of a portion of White Sands Drive immediately west of their home at 4948 Quail Creek Drive. The ordinance was adopted following a public hearing on the matter.

Notice was published in the Great Bend Tribune on May 22, 2020, indicating the at the matter would be considered on June 15. Notices were also mailed to all adjacent landowners and to the utility companies providing utility service to the area. No objections have been filed with the city.

• Heard and approved the city’s audit report. It was presented by Danielle Hollingshead of Adams, Brown, Beran & Ball.

The city received an “unmodified opinion,” Hollingshead said. “It was a clean financial statement.”  

There were no violations nor internal control issues. Notations were made for the COVID-19 pandemic’s impacts and for the $5.1 million in federal grants the city received.

• Approved a request from the Bat Cats for a fireworks show.

Roger Ward requested that fireworks display at a Bat Cats home game be approved at either the June 30 or July 1 game. The display will be set off by Mitch Menges who is qualified and has sufficient insurance, Fire Chief Like McCormick said.

• Approved proceeding with replacing the ballfield, parking lot and tennis court lighting.

The lights will be purchased from Musco Sports Lighting, Oskaloosa, Iowa, for $454,000 and the installation of the lights will be handled by P&S Electric, Great Bend, for $65,820, for a total project cost of $519,820.

The city has money set aside for the project, and the  Great Bend Recreation Commission has contributed $48,000 to the effort for the tennis courts. The work should be done by the end of August or early September.

• Heard a departmental and COVID-19 update from City Administrator Kendal Francis. 

• Heard a report from Community Coordinator Christina Hayes.  

• Held a 15-minute executive session for the evaluation of Francis.

The contract with Francis required that a review be carried out annually on his anniversary date of July 30. The council returned to open session and no action was taken.

• Approved the annual list of business license renewals.

• Approved allowing people to stay in Jack Kilby Square between 10 p.m. and Midnight July 16 and Aug. 20 for free outdoor movies in the park.

These are part of the Summer Street Stroll and Third Thursday.

• Approved a series of permissions for the annual Party in the Park celebration set for Aug. 8.

• Approved abatements at: 1819 Stone, Accumulation of Trash/Refuse, owned by Gerardo Dominguez; and 1622 l9th, Accumulation of Trash/Refuse, owned by Lakeyia Jones.

• Held a work session to discuss code enforcement and abatements. The city has been looking at revamping these procedures.

The eighth-annual Party in the Park set for Aug. 8 will go on as planned, following action by the Great Bend City Council Monday night. It had been called into question due to lingering concerns over the  COVID-19 pandemic.

“We are down to crunch time and need to determine if we should have 2020 Party in the Park,” Hayes said. “Many events have canceled big events (Barton County Fair is mostly virtual and After Harvest Festival greatly scaled back) we decided it would be best to have council decide if we are going to move forward with the 2020 Party in the Park as usual.”

By the end of the week, she will have paid out about $6,000 in deposits for the vendors and acts. So, should things get canceled, the city will be out that money.

The events are all outdoors, making social distancing easy, she said. But, there are worries about some of the activities like the bounce houses and the food-eating contest, and keeping the bathrooms clean.

However, “it is sort of an ‘enter at your own risk’ situation,” Hayes said.

“Since this is in August, I say we go as normal,” said Councilman Dana Dawson, who moved to proceed with the festival. “Everything is improving.”

It was approved unanimously.

Following this, the council OKed the required permissions. These included:

• Approve for the city to host the 2020 Party in the Park on Aug. 8.

• Allow the Closure and blocking off of McKinley and 17th Street Terrance starting at 9:50 a.m. to allow for the Great Bend Wet/Dry Parade. The parade begins at 10 a.m.

• Close 17th Street Terrance west of McKinley to White Sands Drive from after parade to midnight to utilize for extra parking and allow one-way traffic to be directed to the west.

• Allow the discharge of fireworks in Vets Park on Saturday Aug. 8 by contracted officials only for the firework display starting around 10 p.m.

• Allow non-street legal cars that are local car club affiliated to be able to preregister and travel no more than 12 blocks to get to the Party in the Park Car Show.

• Allow cereal malt beverage beer, no bottles or glass, in Al Burns Field for the concert with help of Legion Riders and GBPD as additional security.

• To approve that people can be in the park past midnight for cleanup of the Party in the Park activities.