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Airfest, out-of-state-travel top county agenda

The Barton County Commission voted Tuesday to support the Great Bend Airport Airfest with a $25,000 sponsorship.

Christina Hayes and Martin Miller stepped to the microphone at Tuesday’s commission meeting to talk about the triennial Airfest to be held Sept. 20-22 at the Great Bend Municipal Airport.

Great Bend Community Coordinator Hayes spoke first to propose a partnership between the County Commission and the Great Bend Airfest, reminding the commissioners that the last time this event was in Great Bend the county was a sponsor and provided a ticket giveaway for citizens of Barton County. This year it is hoped to have a flyover for all Barton County communities. The ticket prices will be higher than in the past but there will be a lot of history, entertainment, tributes, and dedications.

Miller, airport manager, gave an overview of the planned festivities. 

There will be a day show, a twilight show, and a night show. There will be many planes from World War II in addition to the B29s for which Great Bend is famous.

Rides in iconic planes will be offered including a ride in a helicopter. The night shows provide an evening similar to a Fourth of July fireworks spectacular with the exception that the planes will be performing acrobatics to add excitement to the night.

There will be planes from different countries in addition to the Mustangs, Hornets, C45s, Bobcats, and B29s.

In order to bring us back to earth, there will possibly be three to five Ferraris and Lamborghinis available to provide rides for those who want to keep their feet on the ground.

It will end up being a $300,000 show, so sponsors are being sought to help with the expense. The County Commissioners voted to match the $25,000 amount provided by the City of Great Bend.

Out-of-state travel

Wendy Prosser, County Appraiser, spoke about the opportunity for three members of her department to attend an International Association of Assessing Officers conference in Denver, Colo., from Aug. 25-28. Prosser, Jame Allen and Christina Doyle all hold the Kansas Registered Mass Appraiser designation and could count this opportunity as continuing education.

It was noted that, since future conferences are scheduled to be held in Canada and North Carolina, a trip to Colorado would be the most feasible and the County Commissioners voted to approve the expense.

Courthouse improvements

In other business, a resolution was approved that sums up the Barton County Courthouse improvement project.

Administrative Assistant Dianna Watson said all the work is done. The purpose of the resolution was to preserve a historic record.

Resolution 2024-15 states:

“After several decades of discussion, the Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning (HVAC) system at the Courthouse has been updated. The Commission directed administrative staff to begin investigating options relative to replacement in 2017. Following a feasibility study and project development phase, the County has worked with Orazem & Scalora Engineering, P.A., DMA Architects, P.A., Kruse Corporation, Brentwood Builders and several sub-contractors for the last year in making improvements. Included therein was moving the Treasurer’s Office to the First Floor of the Courthouse to better serve citizens.”

The improved air quality in the building was also noted, as well as the temperature regulation. 

Chairman Barb Esfeld came in front of the Commission, asking Matt Patzner, county administrator, and Dereck Hollinshead, IT director, to join her. “There are two people that walked around, just acting like there was nothing, they were just taking care of business.” Many kudos were given to the Courthouse staff for the energy and willingness to help with the moving out and moving back in. Patzner and Hollingshead were presented with gift certificates for their calm presence and ability to problem-solve during these times of transition.

By Becky Gillette, Great Bend Tribune