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First phase of hike/bike path repairs approved
new deh city council bike trail pic web
Pictured is the Great Bend hike and bike trail which is in need of repairs. - photo by DALE HOGG Great Bend Tribune

In other business Monday night, the Great Bend City Council: 

• Approved a request to use a city parking lot for Trunk or Treat Activities. The Church of Christ requested that it be allowed to use the south half of the city parking lot behind the City Building and south of the City Auditorium for the event from 1-4 p.m. Oct. 28, the date of Zoo Boo. 

• Reviewed the city’s Snow Removal Policy. Public Works Director Charlie Suchy handed it out and it will be adopted at the  Oct. 16 meeting.

• Approved a cereal malt beverage license for the Argonne Rebels. The group requested the license for the Dueling Piano’s event on Oct. 7 at the Events Center.  

• Approved abatements at: 2406 Elm St., accumulation of refuse, owned by Ismael A. Montelongo; 409 Almond St., accumulation of refuse, owned by Anna Bartlett; and 1324 10th St., accumulation of refuse, owned by Miguel and Gloria Mata.

 Noting its importance to the community’s health and vitality, repairs will soon commence on the much-used Great Bend hike and bike trail, the City Council decided Monday night.

Approved was the $68,000 first phase of the project. This will involve Venture Corporation of Great Bend milling and patching the many gaping cracks in the 7-mile-long trail’s asphalt surface. 

The hike and bike trail on the north levee of the Arkansas River flood control project between 10th Street and Washington Street is deteriorating, local cyclist Steve Pringle told the council. “It has deteriorated through the lack of maintenance.”

The trail provides a nice, safe place to ride away from traffic and close to nature, he said. But, fissures have developed that are potentially hazardous to bicyclists and walkers. 

Pringle has been in contact with Kip Spray of Venture, city officials and Councilwoman Allene Owen about this issue. They have toured the path and held meetings.

To totally patch and resurface the path could cost upwards of $250,000. There are grants for new trails, but not for trail repairs.

Then, the idea of doing the work in three or four phases was suggested; hence the action Monday night. 

This first step involves the cutting out of the damaged areas, repairing them and applying an overlay. This would be done yet this year and would last for five or six years.

“That would get it operational,” Pringle said. In intervening years, the city plans on setting aside funds to replace the surface.

Venture will also make sure the integrity of the flood control dike is preserved as is required by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The equipment used in the project could damage the levee, but the contractor will replant grass and patch as necessary.

Although the project is not in the city budget, City Attorney Bob Suelter said money can be found in contingency funds and from cost savings in other departments.

“I think its an asset to our community,” Councilman Mike Boys said. “I think we need to do this.”

The trail is listed on the Great Bend Convention and Visitors Bureau website and in other promotional literature, Pringle said. In addition, the trail is important for health and economic development reasons.

“This is something everyone can be proud of,” he said. 

The trail was originally constructed with funds from a state grant.