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Another step in the right direction
Be Well Barton County presents check to city
new deh city couincil hike bike pic web
Shown is a bike awareness sign on West Barton County Road near the western edge of Great Bend. It is proposed that a connecting route between town and the highway be built. - photo by DALE HOGG Great Bend Tribune

 Be Well Barton County, a countywide group promoting healthier lifestyles, put its money where its mouth is Tuesday night.

Coalition member Dale Hogg presented a $2,082.03 grant to the Great Bend City Council. The only condition is that the grant be used to further the development of the Barton County Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plan for such things as trail development and safety signage. 

“I’m usually here asking for money,” Hogg said, referencing past presentations seeking support for various Be Well projects. “This time I am here to give you money.” 

It may not be a lot, but every dollar counts, he said. It can also be used to leverage additional grants.

The money came from grant funds awarded to Be Well by the Kansas Health Foundation. The organization is in its fourth year of promoting active lifestyles and recently completed the extensive master plan.

The great thing about the master plan is that it is flexible, Hogg said. “It is like a buffet.”

It includes a list of projects that can be tackled as they fit into the city’s planning and budget.

The plan has also been endorsed by Barton County, as well as Claflin, Ellinwood and Hoisington. Each entity has or will receive the same grant.

“Committee members Dale Hogg and Sue Cooper have provided a great working partnership in finding ways to make our community more bicycle and pedestrian friendly,” City Administrator Howard Partington said. Partington, along with Public Works Director Scott Keeler, have worked a great deal with Hogg, managing editor of the Great Bend Tribune, and Cooper, program officer for the Golden Belt Community Foundation, on various related projects.

The council also voted to support a list of priorities pulled from the master plan or developed in cooperation city personnel and backed by Be Well. The funds could be used on these efforts.

The priorities include:

• McKinley and Veterans Memorial Park – The community already uses Veteran’s Memorial Park and many walk/run events are already held in this area. Suggested to make these easier are: a 6-8-foot-wide sidewalk on west side of McKinley from 22nd to 24th Street, a 6-8-foot-wide sidewalk on west side of McKinley from 17th to Broadway, the connecting north side of the Vets walking trail to new cemetery, and 5K trail marker wooden post signs in quarter-mile increments with defined routes that all groups can use so they would no longer have to mark out routes using spray paint.

• West 10th Street to Rosewood Street – It is essential to better connect the bike/hike trail that follows the flood control levee to the community and this can be done by connecting the shoulder of the county road (West Barton County road or West 10th Street) to town. Suggested is the creation a multi-use path from the city edge to Rosewood utilizing what is essentially a gravel alley now along the western edge of Great Bend.

The mile marker portion listed is being funded through the help of fellow committee member Janel Rose, public health educator at the Barton County Health Department. 

Hogg also presented the council with a copy of the page from the master plan outlining a myriad of projects in Great Bend.