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City prepping transload application
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 As part of the effort to secure the transload facility, the Great Bend City Council Monday night authorized Mayor Mike Allison to sign the amendment to the railroad company Watco’s lease agreement at the airport.

As the city has worked through the transload project, it was felt that adding some additional land area to the original lease would strengthen Great Bend’s proposal with the Kansas Department of Transportation, City Administrator Howard Partington said. 

This adds 11.63 acres. This piece of property south of Fuller Brush is move developed than the original piece and also smaller, and already includes railroad spurs. 

The lease rate will be $400 per month for this addition, which is the same amount Watco is paying for its current location. One of the city’s incentives on the project is a very low lease rate for the land, Partington said.

In a related matter, the council approved the submission of a letter of support for the transload project. The application to KDOT for the project needs to be submitted by Dec. 15. A letter of support from the Great Bend City Council would be a positive inclusion, Great Bend Chamber of Commerce President Jan Peters said.

Mayor Mike Allison dubbed this one of the most significant developments in Great Bend this past year. “In the long run, this will be an important part of our economic well being.”

Basically, a transload facility is a location where cargo is loaded from trains to trucks. This is a joint venture with the Kansas Department of Transportation and Great Bend was one of two sites along with Garden City that made the cut out of 111 initial applicants.

“There are a lot of people interested in this project,” Peters said. This includes numerous calls from companies in the wind power industry.

There are a lot of unknowns and a lot of questions, she said. So, there will be public hearings in nearby communities to help explain the facility and other details.

There may not be a lot of new jobs created at the site itself, but there will be a lot of spin-off business, Partington said.