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GBRC board discusses future goals
_activity center
Improvements to the Great Bend Activity Center site at 2715 18th St. is one topic that will be discussed when the Great Bend Recreation Commission sets 2022-2023 Strategic Plan goals at its June 13 meeting. - photo by Daniel Kiewel

Monday afternoon’s Great Bend Recreation Commission board meeting was focused primarily on preparing to set its 2022-2023 fiscal year Strategic Plan goals in June.

GBRC Executive Director Diann Henderson said the plan has not been adjusted much since before the onset of COVID-19, so now is a good time to look at it anew.

“Sometimes it’s good to just take a breath and a step back, and it gives you a refresher to look at things from a little different perspective.”

Board members indicated their primary goal is to build on staff recommendations, because the staff’s day-to-day experience is needed to build the most effective programs.

Key goals with the strategic plan

• A key long-standing goal has been operating with fiscal responsibility. As part of that goal, Rec staff discussed creating reserves in the budget dedicated to replacement and upgrades of static assets, such as facilities and infrastructure.

• Another key goal is to provide funding for rapidly-changing technological improvements. The commission faces the prospect of making software transitions in several areas, including cloud storage, accounting software, mandated electronic federal and state hiring reporting, and operating system upgrades. Possible improvements also include updates to the commission’s RecTrac participant tracking software and updates to electronic newsletter software.

The staff also has included possible upgrades to technology in the classrooms and meeting spaces at both rec facilities, such as increased use of smart technology and equipment and wireless internet connections. 

• The staff also hopes to continue to foster economic development through community engagement, building on the commission’s partnerships with the City of Great Bend and USD 428 to, “create new play spaces, tournaments, programs, and engage in recreation facility development. This will fall hand in hand with, potentially, the quality of life partnerships we may have with the city in the future,” Henderson said.

Board member Dr. Jonathan Pike expressed interest in being able to see the results of the city’s quality of life survey prior to the June board meeting. With the city’s quality of life committee in the process of assessing what needs are a priority of the city’s residents, Pike’s hopes are to use those results as a guide in building the commission’s strategic plan.

“It might be nice to be able to subdivide to say, ‘these are the things that we can do really well by ourselves, these are the things that we could collaborate on, and these are the things that probably don’t fit our scope,” Pike said.

• Creating new year-round experiences to promote a healthy and active community is another goal. In that vein, Henderson said the staff have devoted significant discussions to potential outdoor and indoor improvements at the Great Bend Activity Center. 

“We probably need to assess that site and see what our (most important) needs are to accomplish through our funding processes,” she said.

The Activity Center and other facilities are a key concern when looking toward the future and providing quality recreational opportunities, she said. Having high-quality facilities is key to being able to provide the highest quality possible programming in promoting an active community.