By this time next year, there could be significant changes to Jack Kilby Square, including improvements to the Clayton L. Moses Memorial Bandshell and the addition of a splash pad for children.
These are among the ideas being considered by the Great Bend City Council when it met Monday night. No action was taken, but the council will likely vote on preceding with the effort when it meets May 2.
In all, this amounts to a $500-700,000 project, City Administrator Howard Partington said. Of that, the trustees of the Thelma Faye Harms Charitable Trust have pledged at least $200,000 and the city has about $400,000 set aside for the work.
“This is something the Thelma Faye Harms Charitable Trust has been interested in for several years,” Partington said. However, the original “grand plan” totaled about $5 million.
“We’ve had to work this down to bits and pieces,” Partington said. This led to the pared-down version presented Monday.
“This is a good project,” he said. “It will get a lot of bang for your buck.”
They hope to have construction start in September and be completed by next spring.
Proposals for the bandshell on the south end of the square include extending the stage out about seven feet, the addition of handicapped-accessible ramps on the east side and new steps on the west side, a driveway to allow for easier unloading and loading, improved drainage and inset fans to help circulate air on stage.
“There is a lot of concrete work,” Partington said. But, it has been a while since the area was revamped and the changes are needed.
Upgrades to the electrical system may be made as well.
The original vision called for the installation of shade structures. However, Partington said these turned out to be too costly.
The splash pad
At the north end of the bandshell plaza there would be a splash pad which would consist of a few water spray features. This is important to the Harms trustees, Partington said, adding it could be a major draw for the downtown.
Activated by a step pad, the features would not run constantly and would be turned off when the park closes in the evening. The sprays use between seven and 35 gallons of water per minute, which would not be recirculated (an option that would almost double the cost of the pad).
“We want to be really cognizant of how much water we use,” Partington said.
However, the pad would require the moving of the World War I cannon mounted in the area. Partington said he has visited with local historians and veterans groups about relocating it.
There is also a time capsule buried there along with a related burial vault. These would have to be moved as well.
Currently, kids play in the existing fountain, but city officials said this is dangerous. The pad will give children a safe option.