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City to get new entrance signs
Two new signs will greet visitors coming from the east and north
great bend sign pic
Shown is an artist’s rendering of what one of the new Great Bend city entrance signs will look like. The council approved Monday night the installation of two signs, one at the east entrance to the city and one at the north entrance.

A pair of entrances to Great Bend will get a face lift following action by the City Council Monday night. It approved the purchase of two welcome signs as part of the city’s new Strategic Plan.

“We want to make our city appealing and welcoming when people come in,” Convention and Visitor Bureau Director Christina Hayes said.

The CVB Advisory Board took on this assignment and has looked at several options and vendors for the project. The goal is to only do two entrances at this time, Hayes said. 

To this end, the board recommended signs from Marks Custom Signs for a total of $38,724 ($17, 122 for the north entrance. $21,102 for the east entrance, and a $500 state license fee). The east entrance costs more due to the earthwork involved.

Funds for the signs will come from the Thelma Faye Harms Trust. 

The east sign will be near the Kansas Department of Transportation office, and the north near the flood control levee. Flood lights will illuminate them from the front.

Hayes first brought the signs up at the Nov. 18 meeting when she outlined the thought process behind the project. With five major entry points, they needed to decide where to begin.

According to traffic counts, the two busiest entrances are those coming in from the east on 10th Street and coming in from the north on US 281 near the flood control levee. So, these were selected.

The first sign the board liked was submitted by Jeremy Guthrie from Mark’s Custom Signs in Great Bend and came with a $30,000-plus price tag. Standing eight feet tall and 22 feet across, and framed by stone on the sides and bottom, it read “Welcome to Great Bend.” 

The design was attractive, but too expensive, Hayes said. She went back to Guthrie. He reduced the size a little, but kept the same basic design. Still, the prices were too high.

She went back again. Guthrie created a third option, similar in appearance, but the signs would be suspended by two stone columns with no stone underneath. It would stand eight feet and be 19 feet across.

This was in the city’s price range.  

The signs are part of the city’s new three-year plan aimed at improving the appearance of the community, Hayes said. With about $130,000 in Harms Trust money available, it could also pay for future entry signs, but funding will be evaluated when the time arises.


Great Bend City Council meeting at a glance

Here is a quick look at what the Great Bend City Council did Monday night:

• Approved a letter of support for a Kansas Department of Transportation grant for the Rosewood Roots and Wings Foundation. This is a different grant than what was previously requested at the November meeting.

This is for two mini vans with ramps and one cutaway van with a lift. The total project cost with contingency is $148,625 of which the foundation will fund the 20% match of $29,725. They did not asking for any money from the City of Great Bend for this application, said the foundation’s Howard Partington.

The mini vans would be used mainly to transport the people we serve to medical appointments. The larger cutaway van would be used mainly to transport the people we serve to and from work sites. All three of the current vehicles that they would replace are high mileage and do not have some of the safety features that newer vehicles have.

• Approved the 2019 non-budgeted transfers in the amount of $1,393,821.96. This is done annually, said City Clerk/Finance Director Shawna Schafer.

The transfers are non-budgeted transfers to the Capital Equipment Reserve Fund and the Capital Improvement Reserve Funds from the General Fund and Events Center Fund. Other transfers include insurance proceeds/donations made to the City for specific projects/equipment that are recorded in the General Fund and transferred to the Capital Equipment Reserve Fund and the Capital Improvement Reserve Funds per Kansas statute.

• Approved a rezoning request for Kevin Arnberger who purchased real estate located south of the city and in the three-mile radius of Great Bend. He wishes to construct a building on the real estate to house his expanding fire protection business, Pryor Automatic Fire Sprinkler Inc. 

The Planning Commission has met and recommended approval of the rezoning from A (agriculture) to C (commercial), said City Attorney Robert Suelter. 

• Approved the purchase of two city entrance signs. As part of the city Strategic Plan, the Convention and Visitor Bureau Advisory Board has looked at several options and vendors for entrance signs into the city. The goal is to only do two entrances at this time, CVB Director Christina Hayes said. 

The Advisory Board recommends the sign from Marks Custom Signs for a total of $38,724 ($17, 122 for the north entrance. $21,102 for the east entrance, and a $500 state license fee). 

• Approved a land trade with Nelson Stone, owner of CJS Properties. He proposed the swap with the City of Great Bend. 

Stone purchased approximately 35 acres of land to the south of Fire Station 2. The land currently has access through a shared residential drive on Patton Road. 

He proposed trading approximately .717 acres for a 60-foot easement totaling approximately .676 on the west side of the Station 2. He has agreed to cover all costs involved, said Fire Chief Luke McCormick.

This will square off the city’s property and help with future expansion of the Fire Department’s training facility.

• Heard an information technology report from Network Administrator James Cell and Human Resources Director Randy Keasling. They gave updates on their respective departments.

• Heard a report from City Administrator Kendal Francis. He focused on numerous on-going city projects.

• Heard a report from Hayes. She focused on the successful Home for the Holidays Christmas kick-off weekend Nov. 31.

• Heard the annual update from Hank Denning on the Sunflower Rod and Custom Association dragstrip.

• Approved abatements at: 2115 Sunset Rd., accumulation of trash, owned by Heather Battaglear; 2116 Jefferson, accumulation of trash, owned by Timberland; 2911 18th, accumulation of trash, owned by Timberland; 406 Evergreen, motor vehicle, owned by Helena A Hernandez; 422 Walnut, accumulation of trash, owned by Aurora Perez; 1111 Morphy, accumulation of trash, owned by Ricardo Acosta-Rodriguez; 5309 Quail Creek, accumulation of trash, owned by Connie Lee Bobbitt; and 420 Walnut, accumulation of trash, owned by WHB.