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Gleason apartment building project OKed
Gleason hospital 2024
The Gleason hospital is looking to begin another chapter in its history in the Larned community.

LARNED — Larned Mayor William Nusser and City Manager Brad Eilts received some good news by email this week.

They were told that the Kansas Housing Resources Corporation had approved an application from a Wichita-based development company, which now can proceed with its desire to turn the former Gleason Hospital at 523 Main St. in Larned into an apartment complex.

“This is really good news,” Mayor Nusser said Friday morning. “This is really going to help the housing situation in Larned.”

Nusser and Eilts were notified that PETRA, a commercial development company founded in 2016, had been approved for tax credits in the amount of $1,155,000. 

Back in November 2023, the Larned City Council had passed a resolution in support of PETRA’s application and its desire to renovate the building into 33 one-bedroom fully-furnished apartments with kitchenettes. When completed, the building would be known as “Prairie Flats.”

That first application was denied, however, but the company tried again this year.

New chapter for iconic building

The apartment complex will be the third iteration for the building at the corner of Fifth and Main St.

Dr. B.L. Gleason finished construction on the building for his osteopathic and surgery practice in Larned in 1928. Many local babies were also born within its walls into the 1960s.

Next, the building was transformed into a drug and alcohol rehabilitation center run by Sunrise, Inc. That operation was then closed by its local board of directors after 2012 and the property was sold for use as private storage.

The apartment complex project comes in line with the community’s recent downtown revival movement, Nusser noted. The movement was spurred into high gear with the city council’s decision to raze the Opera House, one of the first brick buildings constructed on the community’s main business district thoroughfare through town in 2022.

Nusser noted that he is approaching his 10th year as mayor after his election in 2015, and the revival mindset bodes well for the community’s future.

“When I first took office, there were some goals that I had in mind,” Nusser said. “My first thought was that we would have to stabilize things, like the budget and our infrastructure, and we’re working on that. Our recently awarded BASE grant for downtown is going to show people that we want to improve our community. 

“But the best way to lower taxes isn’t just to simply lower them, because then we won’t be able to fund necessary services. We want to raise our valuations through gaining more population, so we can then spread that tax base out. Then, maybe we can look at lowering the taxes that our established citizens have been paying, because the money then flows into those corners that we haven’t always been able to reach.”