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However, concerns are raised and a split council OKs project
new deh city council library pic
The Central Kansas Library System was granted permission to install a new sign in the Great Bend Public Library parking lot. However, city officials had some concerns about the proposal. - photo by DALE HOGG Great Bend Tribune

 In other business Monday night, the Great Bend City Council:

• Authorized Mayor Mike Allison to sign a Kansas Department of Transportation Kansas Connecting Link (KLINK) resurfacing project agreement for resurfacing Main Street from 10th Street to 19th Street. This is a 50 percent matching grant. This project would be let by the City and the state would reimburse eligible costs up to $200,000, City Administrator Howard Partington said.

• Adopted a resolution authorizing a street light to be placed at the intersection of Seventh and Coolidge streets. The area is at the dead end of Coolidge and the platted Seventh, which is not paved. The next closest street light is at the Coolidge and Eighth. It has been observed that the area is extremely dark at night. Wheatland Electric has advised the city would need to dig a trench about 100 feet long from the closest ground transformer to a pole its crews would set. This is because there are no overhead lines in the area. 

• Approved a cereal malt beverage license for Al Burns Field at the request of the Pecos League which is bringing the Great Bend Boom professional baseball team to Great Bend and will using the facility this spring and summer. The permit is conditional on the league passing all applicable inspections.

• Approved abatements at: 201 Chestnut St., accumulation of refuse, owned by Cecilia Obregon and Hector Manuel Rincon Lopez; and 1215 Madison St., accumulation of refuse, owned by Thomas A. Shorock.

 The Central Kansas Library System was granted permission Monday night to install a new lighted sign in the Great Bend Public Library parking lot along Broadway, but it took a compromise and a tie-breaking vote from Mayor Mike Allison to pass the measure.

The request from CKLS Director Harry Willems raised some concerns among Great Bend city officials since the sign would stand on city property. It was these concerns that split the City Council in a 3-3 tie.

City staff members worried about the location along Broadway instead of Williams, the sign highlighting the Central Kansas Library System instead of the Great Bend Public Library and the location of the sign in the parking lot.  

Willems proposed Mark’s Signs install an digital sign halfway between Williams and Stone streets. Since it will be on the city-owned parking lot, Jeremy Guthrie of Marks Custom Signs indicated the CKLS needed permission from the city to proceed. 

In the deal, Willems agreed to have the installation moved westward, closer to the corner of Broadway and Stone, nearer the CKLS entrance on the west side of the library.

But, “I think it should say Great Bend Public Library,” said Councilman Joel Jackson, who ultimately joined councilmen Dana Dawson and Wayne Henneke in voting against the plan. “I’m not sure why they need a sign at all. Everyone knows where the library is.”

“Signs are very expensive,” Willems said, adding this will cost about $36,000. The library doesn’t have the funds, but CKLS does.

Also, a big reason for the display is to raise awareness of CKLS, which has been around since 1966 serving libraries and schools in 16 Kansas counties. “We’ve been around for that long and nobody knows what we do.”

CKLS is in the midst of a five-year drive to increase its visibility. This sign will be a big part of that effort.

And, since CKLS is footing the bill, it wants it to feature the library system. Besides, it does include the library and the library’s logo, although in much smaller print.

Willems stressed usage of the sign would be split at least in half between both entities. It will promote CKLS programs like equipment for the visually impaired and talking books, library programs like summer reading and story hours, and statewide literary events. 

So, “the biggest bang for our buck is on Broadway,” Willems said.

Dawson had no problems with the sign being on Williams where it would be more closely associated with the library and on library property. He thought there would be confusion with it being on Broadway where it might also get in the way of events in the parking lot, such as the farmers market.

Besides, Dawson said perhaps the money could be used for salaries or to help the library repay its debt to the city.

Willems said, however, that these are two separate organizations and the CKLS funds could not be use for these purposes.

Willems was also adamant about a Broadway site. If it was not approved to go along that street, he said he would cancel the project.

It was Councilman Mike Zinn who proposed the compromise. He said having it further west would more closely associate it with the CKLS but still allow it to be used to publicize library activities.

He said this would provide more exposure and a lower installation cost.

Guthrie suggested boring under the parking lot to one of the utility poles for power with a demand meter. Moving the sign means less tunneling. 

Zinn and councilwomen Vicki Berryman and Allen Owen voted for the sign at the new location. However, this was conditional on the site not interfering with the vision of motorists on Stone or Broadway and that Willems make sure the display does indeed promote the library as well as CKLS.

The sign would stand about 16 feet with “Central Kansas Library System” and running vertically. The digital display would be about eight by five feet with the library’s 1409 Williams address, “Beyond the Book” and “Great Bend Public Library” at the top, in smaller type.