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Coming in for a landing
Airport runway project moving forward
new_deh_city council  runway main pic.jpg
Work on the final stretch of the main runway at the Great Bend Municipal Airport is now underway. The City Council Monday night OKed signing off on contract allowing Kansas Department of Transportation project to start. - photo by COURTESY PHOTO

Taking the next steps on the rehabilitation of the Great Bend Municipal Airport’s main runway, the City Council Monday night authorized Mayor Joe Andrasek to sign the Great Bend contract with Venture Corporation of Great Bend. This is for the restoration of the northern 2,351 feet of the main east-west runway, and work on stretch started Monday. 

It is a Kansas Department of Transportation-funded project in conjunction with the Federal Aviation Administration-funded portion of the runway, airport Manager Martin Miller said.

In October, the council authorized Andrasek to sign the contracts, bonds and surety with Venture Corporation and Burns and McDonnell for the Federal Aviation Administration’s runway project, allowing that project to proceed.

This was the southern 5,500 feet of the runway that fell under the FAA project. The city received a $6,734,361 grant that will cover 90 percent of the work, with the city paying $782,000.

However, Miller said the runway, which dates back to World War II when it was part of the U.S. Army Airforce airfield to train B-29 bomber crews, is 7,851 feet long. This makes it the longest landing strip in central Kansas and among the longest in the state.

In other words, this left the 2,351 feet not covered by the FAA funding. So, the city would have been responsible for 100 percent of the design and reconstruction of the remainder, Miller said.

However, Great Bend received a grant through the KDOT Aviation Division. This will cover 90 percent of the $444,891 total for the additional stretch, with the city covering about $45,000.

So, in all, the city will pay about $827,000 to have both the southern and northern portions of the runway rebuilt, Miller said.  


Great Bend City Council meeting at a glance:

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

• Approved investing of the city’s idle funds in certificates of deposit. The winning bid came from Sunflower Bank offering 12-month CD at 2.48 percent and 24-month CD at 2.51 percent.

• Approved a concrete bid for the Great Bend Expo Complex dragstrip area from Eakin Enterprises of Great Bend for $33,409.

During the 2018 Sunflower Rod and Custom Association drag race calendar year, areas of concrete were found to create safety issues with the racers vehicles. Some of these areas created damage to the race cars that were very costly. 

Ideally, City Administrator Kendal Francis said this would have been done by city crews. But, with races starting, city personnel didn’t have time. 

Due to the extended winter, the repairs have not been made. This would fix the areas in need as of now.

Other bids received were: Concrete Services for $56,583; and Suchy Construction for $49,331.44.

• Authorized Mayor Joe Andrasek to sign the Great Bend Municipal Airport runway project contract with Venture Corporation of Great Bend. This is for the rehabilitation of the northern 2,351 feet of the main runway, which runs north and south. It is a Kansas Department of Transportation-funded project in conjunction with the Federal Aviation Administration-funded portion of the runway, said airport Manager Martin Miller.

• Approved granting the Great Bend Sports Complex concession lease to Jason Ward for the 2019 season. City receives as rent 10 percent of gross revenues. Roger Ward has had the lease for the last few years, but indicated he does not have time to operate the stand, but his brother Jason does.

It also includes $500,000 in liability insurance coverage.

• Heard a report on Great Plains Development from Bob Wetmore about the services the agency provides to cities and counties.

• Granted permission for all parking spaces around Jack Kilby Square to be  blocked off for use during the June Jaunt Car Show & Cruise Night from 5-8 p.m. Friday, May 31.

• Approved closing the north half of Lakin Avenue from Main Street to Kansas Avenue from 7 a.m. to midnight on Saturday, June 1, for the June Jaunt events in Jack Kilby Square.

• Approved closing Kansas Avenue from Broadway to Lakin Avenue from 9 a.m. to no later than 3 p.m. to accommodate the Great Bend Strongest/Fittest competition and the Sunflower Diversified Services Poker Run on Saturday, June 1.

• Approved the June Jaunt Beer Garden in Jack Kilby Square.

• Approved a curfew extension for Jack Kilby Square Curfew, authorizing people to be in Jack Kilby Square past midnight on June 1, for the cleanup of the event.

• Heard an update on city activities from City Administrator Kendal Francis.

• Heard an economic development update from Great Bend Chamber of Commerce President Jan Peters. She deferred some of her time to Christy Tustin from the Golden Belt Community Foundation to talk about “reverse scholarships” as a method to bring recent college graduates back to the area.

• Approved abatements at: 231 Fruit, accumulation of trash/refuse, owned by Manual Tavarez Valdez; 3116 17th, motor vehicle nuisance, owned by Stacey Farris;  1422 16th, accumulation of trash/refuse, owned by Stephanie Prieto; and 1422 16th, motor vehicle nuisance, owned by Stephanie Prieto.