The annual Barton County tax sale held Tuesday at the Barton County Courthouse in Great Bend was deemed a success, County Treasurer Jim Jordan said. He plans on giving an update to the county commission Monday morning.
“We sold all the tracks,” he said. At the time of the sale, there were 27 parcels from around the county on the auction block, and these netted $17,000.
However, the successful bidders were responsible for the 2018 taxes owed on the properties they bought. A property winds up on the sale after three years of taxes go unpaid, so the county is out the taxes owed for 2016 and 2017.
County Commissioner Kenny Schremmer and Sheriff Brian Bellendir served as the auctioneers.
In the nick of time
One notable property that was not on the sale was the former deteriorating Highland Hotel on 10th Street. “The hotel was redeemed at the last minute,” Jordan said.
Property owners had until noon on the Monday just prior to the sale to pay up, and the hotel owners made that deadline.
The owners, Springfield, Mo.-based Retreat at Great Bend LLC., forked over $143,334.19. They are still planning to develop a time-share resort at the 3017 10th location.
The total owed on the facility for the past three years, 2016-2018, was $115,392.10. A property is subject to the tax sale until the entire amount is paid.
To redeem a property, the owner needed to come to the Treasurer’s Office and pay the tax in full plus court costs.
The property has an appraised value of the property is $548,060, $521,900 for the land and $26,160 for the building, according to the Treasurer’s Office.
Future plans for the hotel
Retreat at Great Bend is continuing with its plans, said Frank Hanson. Hansen of Bar-None Construction, Coquitlam, British Columbia, Canada, is one of the owning partners.
The City Council voted to abate the property last summer due to a lack of maintenance. The Police Department runs routine checks of the building to help curtail illegal activities, and there have been reports of fixtures being stolen and homeless people squatting in some of the rooms, Great Bend city officials said.
The owners have been contacted repeatedly about maintaining the property who were recently in town to board up some of the broken windows and make other small repairs. Truck loads of furniture and other items have been hauled out.
The Highland Manor opened in 1964. The addition of the convention center and office complex came in the 1980s.
However, it changed hands several times over the years. The Highland became the Holiday Inn, the Parkside Hotel and finally the Great Bend Hotel and Convention Center which closed three years ago.
In June 2011, the City Council approved utilizing $500,000 donated by an anonymous group of local residents to purchase the convention center separately from the hotel. This portion has been remodeled and developed into the city’s Events Center.