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Great Bend City Council quick reads: Aug. 17
heizer park
The deadline to take the city’s survey on Heizer Park is Friday, Aug. 28. So far, the response to the survey has been good.

Openings exist on advisory boards

During the consent agenda, the Great Bend City Council Monday night filled an opening on the Tree Board by appointing Vicki Berryman to the position. But, City Administrator Kendal Francis said that was not the only vacancy on the myriad boards and commissions that advise the council and officials.

“I wanted to make everyone aware that we have several other board openings here in the city,” he said. 

• Most recently, an opening has risen on the library board. 

• There is also an opening on the Housing Authority Board. “One caveat to that is that you have to be a tenant (of the High Rise).

• There are three openings on the Board of Construction, Trades, Examiners, and Appeals and Building Board of Examiners and Appeals. The BCTEA opening is for a master mechanic. And then the two positions on the Building Board are for a contractor and an architect/engineer. 

“So if anyone is interested in serving the city, this would be a great opportunity to do so,” Francis said. 

The final opening was for the Humane Society, but that is for a council member. 

Heizer Park survey going well

Last week, the City of Great Bend launched a community survey to find out what improvements the public would like to see at Heizer Park, located at Eighth and Heizer streets. Work is already being done at the park, but larger plans are in the works.

“I’d like to make everyone aware of a survey that we’re currently taking, looking at possible improvements in Heizer Park,” Francis told the City Council Monday night, noting it is going well. “As of last Thursday, we already have 345 responses.”

The survey is promoted on the city’s and Great Bend Recreation Commission’s social media sites. The survey will be open until Friday, Aug. 28.

“So I encourage you to help us out in that regard,” he said.

Time running out on Census response

With the last chance to respond looming, there is a lot on the line for Great Bend and Kansas in the 2020 Census, Francis said, addressing the City Council Monday night.

“If you haven’t taken the Census, you are running out opportunities to do so,” Francis said, addressing the City Council Monday night. And, he said, it is crucial for the city’s and state’s future that folks respond.

The stakes are high, he said “It is important for the financial Future of communities in Kansas as well as your representation. Right now, they are projecting that Kansas is going to lose a congressional seat by year 2030 because of the response rate, so it does have an effect on us on a daily basis.”

But, “they actually shortened the window,” he said. The Census will close on Sept. 30. Originally, it was set to run through the end of October, but for whatever reason they reduced that. 

“Currently, we’re at our at a response rate in Barton county of 64.4%. The average in Kansas is 67.5%,” Francis said. “And I believe that the last census, our response rate was around 71%. So we’re, down a little bit.”

It can be done anonymously online and there are Census takers coming around door to door.


City seeking conferences 

Recently, the City of Great Bend received word that the Kansas Association of City County and Managers Conference booked for the Events Center in December is moving to a virtual format instead because of COVID-19, said Christina Hayes, community coordinator and Convention and Visitors Bureau director.

“We are going to be trying to get them back in 2022,” she said. There’s no promises.”

The KACCM plans a year out, so Great Bend won’t get them in 2021. “But hopefully, keeping our fingers crossed, we can get them for 2022.”

This highlighted efforts on Hayes’ part. “We are actively looking for conferences, you know, for maybe a little bit farther out.”

She encouraged anyone who is part of any group or organization to put in a plug for Great Bend. 

“Recruiting is something we actively do throughout the year,” she said. But if you ever hear of anything that would be good for Great Bend, I would love to be involved in that and help actively recruit those conferences.”

events center
City officials are actively recruiting conferences and other activities for the Great Bend Events Center.