The Great Bend Chamber of Commerce announced today that it will no longer be managing Expo buildings I and II at the Great Bend Expo Complex. Ownership and management of buildings now lies with the City of Great Bend.
“After careful consideration, the chamber’s Board of Directors determined that owning and maintaining the buildings no longer aligns with the Chamber’s mission and is not financially feasible for the organization,” chamber President Megan Barfield said.
The chamber constructed the buildings in the late 1970s and early 1980s to house the 3i Show, which brought positive revenue to further the chamber’s mission over the last 40 years. However, with no agriculture show and a focus on new initiatives within the strategic plan, the chamber will be stepping back from the management of the buildings, she said.
As a non-profit organization funded by its membership, the chamber receives no public funding, she said. The chamber’s Board of Directors encouraged the City of Great Bend and other potential partners/lessees to continue making improvements to the entire complex enjoyed by the community at large.
“We are proud of the role Expo Buildings I and II have played in the community over the years,” Barfield said. “We are confident that the City of Great Bend and future partners will be able to continue providing the community with the opportunity to use these facilities for events and gatherings.”
The Great Bend Chamber of Commerce will continue to support the community through its mission to promote economic growth and advocate for businesses in Great Bend and the surrounding areas, she said.
As for the city, “we are in discussions among (the City Council) as to what we are going to do moving forward,” said Mayor Cody Schmidt. They are looking at possibly working with local organizations or a third-party vendor to manage the facilities, but they are nowhere near ready to make a decision.
However, “they will stay in city hands,” he said. Regardless of what transpires, the city will not sell the buildings.
For more information, contact the Great Bend Chamber of Commerce at 620-792-2401 or visit www.greatbend.org.