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Despite support, Penneys still closing
Using Penneys building as police station under consideration
new deh city council pennys store escalator pic web
Shown is the escalator at the Great Bend Penney's store. Options are being sought on what to do with the large building once the store closes. - photo by DALE HOGG Great Bend Tribune

 Even though the tremendous number of calls in support of the Great Bend JC Penney’s didn’t sway J.C. Penney company to keep it open, they did impress company offiDAAddllfdv  cials, Great Bend Chamber of Commerce President Jan Peters told the Great Bend City Council Monday night.

“I’ve been in touch with them,” Peters said. But, although moved by the interest, they still plan on closing the store along with 137 others nationwide.

“The key factor in this is that 30 jobs will be lost,” she said. Of those, four are full-time positions.

Now, she is working with the manager to help find new jobs for the displaced employees.

This is too bad, she said. Prior to 2012 when the store started backing off on its inventory, it was one the must successful Penney’s locations in the area, sometimes topping Wichita.

“We are sad to say we are losing one of the best businesses in our community,” she said.

In addition to the layoffs, the closure leaves an empty building. Peters said she has been in contact with someone who may be interested in utilizing it.

“It’s a big building,” she said. But, it does have new heating and air conditioning.

Another option that has been mentioned is using it for the Great Bend Police Department. Seeking to move out of the aging, cramped old station, the department is looking at building a new structure across the street from the current office.

But, City Administrator Howard Partington, city personnel and city council members have all been asked about the Penney’s building. “We will look into in and see if it is a viable option,” Partington said.