Most Great Bend motorists may not have been aware of it, but there has been a shortcut connecting Walmart on Grant Street and Dillons on McKinley Street.
Well, the dirt path running behind the Reserves at TrailRidge apartments, assorted shops and fast-food restaurants, and the new Holiday Inn Express wasn’t an official route. In fact, it is a route city officials are hoping to close down.
The City Council Monday night authorized the establishment of permanent barricades on Eighth Street from Grant Street west to the west property line of the Reserves at Trail Ridge property. There are already temporary barricades in place now.
“They want to keep people from tearing things up,” said City of Great Bend Engineering Technician Karl Otter.
The area runs between the backs of the businesses to the north and a wheat field to the south. It was graded to drain water that was standing in the vicinity as construction crews used it as a staging area. “It has become a problem with people using the area to driving between Grant Street and Mckinley Street,” Otter said.
The area is usually wet and vehicle traffic is leaving ruts and creating drainage problems, he said. It is hoped that installing barricades at the street right of way and on the west side of the apartment complex will end this.
Councilman Matt Hiss asked about the possibility of making the unofficial street into an official one.
City Administrator Howard Partington said the city has looked at the idea and it is a good one. “It would be well used.”
But, it is not just a matter of paving a road, Partington said. First, 51 percent of the property owners with land abutting the strip would have to approve of the project.
The cost of the building the street would be borne by all the owners through special property tax assessments.
“It’s a fabulous idea,” Partington said. But, it is unlikely to come to pass.