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City to seek proposals for new Police Station, City Hall
City eyes 12th and Baker for PD, City Hall site undetermined
new police station site
The Great Bend City Council Tuesday night approved hiring a construction manager for the new Police Station at 12th and Baker. - photo by DALE HOGG Great Bend Tribune

Eyeing the building of a new Great Bend Police Station and City Hall, the City Council Monday night approved seeking design and construction requests for proposals for both facilities.

As for the Police Station, for eight months, a mayoral committee has researched options for a location. After much consideration, the committee recommended constructing a new facility on the city-owned parking lot at 12th and Baker in what will be an estimated $5 million project. 

“This location provides enough land to meet size and parking requirements,” said City Administrator Kendal Francis. “It keeps the facility in the downtown area, which the committee strongly desired.”

Additionally, as it is city-owned, it saves the cost of land acquisition. 

The project was first addressed in 2016 when an engineering study for current station on Williams was approved by the council. Championed by then Police Chief Cliff Couch, there was discussion then that it would be preferable to start from scratch at a new location.

The idea was dusted off again last September when Francis brought up resuscitating the effort to replace the current 90-plus-year-old station.

There are plumbing issues, problems with the heating an air conditioning and outdated electrical systems. Compounding this is the space itself. 

Years of remodeling have created a patchwork layout with wasted and unusable spaces, and most of the building is not handicapped accessible. Some improvements were made about four years ago to the current structure, but those were only stop-gap measures.

Research indicates the edifice was built in 1928 as part of the City Auditorium. At the time, the front portion that houses the Police Department also held the City Office and Fire Department. 

With City Hall, the cost and location have yet to be determined. While always under consideration, the city offices were not originally part of Monday’s agenda.

So, less was presented about the project. There was no cost nor location discussed.

However, Ward 2 Councilwoman Jolene Biggs said it should be a priority as well. “It is in as much disarray as the Police Station.”

For both, “the next step is to secure design and construction services,” Francis said. The committee recommended pursuing the design-build project method.

This means the design and construction services are contracted by a single entity, he said. “The designer and contractor work together with the owner as a team, developing the project to fit the owner’s schedule and budget, which will be set as a not-to-exceed dollar amount.” 

Just requesting the proposals in no way commits the city to spending a penny, Francis said. The next steps would be to look at financing and other details. 

Great Bend City Council meeting at a glance

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

• Approved issuing  requests for proposals for design and construction services for a new police station at 12th and Baker and a new City Hall at an as yet undetermined location.

• Approved the city’s 2020 audit as presented by Sean Gordon of Gordon CPA. The city received an unmodified opinion, which is the highest and cleanest opinion that can be given, Gordon said.

“It reflects very well on how the finances of the city are handled,” he said.

There was one minor “internal control” issue with utility billing that he said needed to be addressed.

• Accepted an environmental review of the Broadway Avenue community development block grant project as presented by Faye Trent with Great Plains Development. 

This looked at such things as air quality, water contamination and impact on wildlife. Most of these weren’t applicable in this case and Trent saw no reason why the funds shouldn’t be released to the city.

This involves the $600,000 that is coming via a Kansas Department of Commerce Small Cities Community Development Block Grant. The targeted work includes a mill and overlay of 12 blocks along Broadway Avenue (Polk St. to Morton), as well as the reconstruction of the intersection at 19th Street and Harrison.

The engineer’s estimate for the project is $1,292,800, and the city will match 50%, which comes to $646,000. The city will draw on its quarter-cent sales tax dedicated to street maintenance to cover the cost.

The work is set to begin next spring.

• Heard a report from City Administrator Kendal Francis. He focused on ongoing projects, such as the Sunflower Rod and Custom Association dragstrip and 10th Street, both of which are done or very close to being completed.

• Heard a report from Great Bend Economic Development Inc. President Sara Hayden. She focused on housing, entrepreneurship and childcare, as well as workforce development.

• Held a 20-minute executive session to conduct the evaluation of City Administrator Kendal Francis.

• Held a work session to discuss agency budget requests and the American Rescue Plan Act (federal COVID-19 stimulus money) coming to the city.

• Heard comments from Russell Schneider, owner of Fireworks for Less and Windshields for Less at 2100 Main.

He requested and was granted an extra year to install a required sprinkler system in his business. He said it would take the extra time to save the needed $40-50,000 for the project, or else he may lose his businesses.

There were concerns from the council over the city’s liability and the safety of customers.

Schneider was recently advised by city safety officials that in order to meet current safety codes, the sprinkler system was mandated. They had given him until next year, but he now has until 2023.

• Approved abatements for accumulation of refuge at: 1211 Taft, Ronald Poppe; 301 Cedar, Mike Schroeder; 1207, Lincoln Carol Martin; 1618 Morphy, Ramiro and Guadalupe Palacio; 2107 30th, Stacey Farris; 1400 19th, Stacey Farris; 1205 8th, Joan Aleman; 812 Stone, Jesus Del Refugio Gomer; 3301 Broadway, David and Mary McKay Trust; 408 Plum, Lorenzo Soleto-Granadoz; 315 Pine, Daniel Effertz; 908 9th, Sandpiper Mobile Holdings LLC.; 226 Fruit, Jose Luis and Erica Valles; 14 3rd , Sandra Contreras and Jose Barrera; 2516 12th, Warren Peterson; 719 Madison, Keith and Juanita Reimber; and 1316 Coolidge, Rick Miller.

• Approved an abatement for motor vehicle nuisance at 923 Jefferson, Anthony Werner.