By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Council looks moving meetings due to COVID
Events Center too busy to accommodate council meetings
council meeting move
Pictured is the November 2020 Great Bend City Council meeting, which was the council’s first at the Events Center. Meetings moved there to allow more social distancing due to COVID-19. They returned to City Hall this past November, but there is talk of moving again as COVID numbers rise.

To allow for better social distancing due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Great Bend City Council moved its meetings to the recently-remodeled Events Center in the spring of 2020. This past November, because of a waning COVID threat and the need to rent the room the council used, they returned to City Hall.

At the council meeting Monday night, Ward 1 Councilman Alan Moeder broached the idea of moving back for a few months. “I am concerned about this virus coming around and what they are predicting in the next six weeks,” he said.

However, Christina Hayes, community coordinator and Convention and Visitors Bureau director, the space where the council met is booked almost solidly. “I have 12 events in that room in the next two-and-a-half months,” she said.

“OK. I just hate to see so many people getting sick in this room at one time,” Moeder said. “It only takes one person to bring it in.”

“Honestly, I cannot make that work,” Hayes said. Rental revenue provides most of the funding for the facility, along with 1% of the transient guest tax.

Moeder asked about the other rooms at the center.

“I am so, so packed at the Events Center this year. We have only six open weekends in total and the back rooms are getting used,” Hayes said. “It’s exactly what we wanted,” but it makes unfeasible to work the council into the schedule.

“The problem is the setup is so extensive when we host the council,” City Administrator Kendal Francis said. It would be difficult to take down the sound, video and other equipment on a weekly basis.

The city-owned center houses Hayes’s CVB office and the office of Great Bend Economic Development Inc. President Sara Hayden. Located at 3111 10th St., it is a popular venue for conventions, gala events and private celebrations.

There are other options, Francis said. Before moving to the center, council members spread out in their City Hall chamber and plastic shields were installed.

There could be other locations as well. The city’s Front Door facility has the same size limitations at City Hall, but city officials will see what is available.