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County receives grant to bolster bike, pedestrian safety
Funds are a grant from Be Well Barton County
new deh county commission be well check pic web
Barton County Health Educator Janel Rose, third from left, presents a grant check from Be Well Barton County to county Commissioners Kenny Schremmer, Jennifer Schartz, Don Davis, Alicia Straub and Homer Kruckenberg Monday morning. The money will help pay for projects related to the Barton County Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plan.

 In other business Monday morning, the Barton County Commission:

• Approved a transfer of $3,000 from the Finance General Account of the General Fund to Teen Court. This is usually done with the adoption of the budget. As there is no specific statute that allows such a transfer, it can only be made via resolution. This resolution allows for the transaction in both 2015, which was overlooked last year, and 2016.  

Teen Court is an intervention program under Juvenile Services, providing a mechanism for holding youthful offenders accountable outside of the court system. “Teen Court is one of the best things we support,” Commissioner Jennifer Schartz said.  

• Approved a bid from Venture Corporation for 2016 asphalt overlay project. County Engineer Barry McManaman accepted bids until June 8 for the project that included 6,238 tons of asphalt to overlay three sections of roads. Venture Corporation provided the only bid of $495,820.60. To be overlaid are heavily traveled roads near Great Bend including: Washington Street from the north city limits of Great Bend to NE 30 Road; NW 10 Avenue (McKinley Street) from the north city limits of Great Bend to NW 30 Road; and NE/NW 30 Road from NW 10 Avenue to the US-281 intersection.

The County will be eligible for reimbursement of up to $264,254.07 through the Federal Funds Exchange Program for this project. The reimbursement is to be transferred back into the Road and Bridge fund.  

McManaman said the bid was $40,000 lower than his estimate.

• Approved the replacement of a high-volume copier for Central Kansas Community Corrections. As a part of the purchase, the cost will be shared with the 20th Judicial District Court Services Office. Special promotions from Cannon, along with the trade of the five-year old copier, provide the agencies with an estimated purchase price of $10,145 from OPI after trade-in and discounts. The agencies will each pay half of the cost with each paying $5,072.50.  

CKCC Director Amy Boxberger said that agency’s portion of the cost will be covered by fees paid to CKCC by offenders for services. 

 It was a welcome gift coming at a time when Barton County officials face a tight budget year.

The Be Well Barton County leadership coalition through the Golden Belt Community Foundation awarded Barton County $2,082.03. The only stipulation is that the grant be used to further the development of the Barton County Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plan for such things as safety signage. 

“This is exactly how projects like this should be funded,” Commissioner Alicia Straub said. It may not seem like a lot of money, but it can make a big impact.

Other uses may include trail development, enhanced intersections, pedestrian corridors, bike lanes, sidewalk connectivity, crosswalks or related efforts.  

The money came from grant funds awarded to Be Well by the Kansas Health Foundation. The organization is in its fourth year of promoting active lifestyles and recently completed the extensive master plan.

The plan has been endorsed by Barton County, as well as Claflin, Ellinwood, Great Bend and Hoisington.

“This has opened the door,” said Janel Rose, Be Well Barton County committee member and Barton County Health Educator in presenting the check. Now that the master plan is in place, it will be easier for Be Well and other entities to apply for additional grant dollars.

The plan is in-depth, but flexible, Rose said. “This is a framework. It is adaptable.

“It can be taken in pieces,” she said. This is important, particularly in difficult budget years when money is an issue.

“The master plan affects everyone in Barton County,” Commissioner Jennifer Schartz said. Schartz, who also sits on the BWBC committee, said the plan is a “living,breathing document” that will give the county an advantage.

Among other things, the master plan identifies routes in the county heavily used by cyclists. So, additional safety or new way-finding signs will be the likely first on the agenda. “It is imperative to have them as safe as possible,” Rose said. 

As a long-time truck driver, commission Chairman Don Davis commended the work of BWBC. “The signs already put up are a big help to the motoring public. I am proud of you.”