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Great Bend City Council quick reads, Feb. 1, 2021
10th Street project starts; other projects continue
dragstrip repair pic
Stone Sand crews work on the Sunflower Rod and Custom Association dragstrip on a recent Friday. The total reconstruction of the track is progressing, despite weather delays. - photo by DALE HOGG Great Bend Tribune

The resurfacing of most of 10th Street through Great Bend got underway Monday, City Administrator Kendal Francis said in his report to the City Council Monday night. It was one of a handful of ongoing projects he addressed.

• As for 10th Street, “it is slated to take about 105 days,” he said. “So it gets us into May or early spring, just depending on the weather. But it’s nice to see that started.”

City officials had expected Venture Corporation of Great Bend, who is handling the $1.5 million endeavor, to only set up traffic control Monday, but workers actually started milling some of the pavement.

Work began at the west end of 10th and is moving eastward. They will do the inside lanes first, forcing all traffic to the outside lanes.

A Kansas Department of Transportation cost-share project with the city covering 25%, it includes 10th (from west to east): from Patton Road to Kennedy Street; Kennedy to McKinley; two segments between McKinley and Harrison; Washington to Main; and Frey to Hickory.

• The crack sealing project has wrapped up, he said. 

Shane Suchy Construction started this $67,600 project in December. This is part of the city’s annual street maintenance, and included streets in all four quarters of Great Bend, covering about one-fourth of the city.

• Work on the Sunflower Rod and Custom Association dragstrip was slowed some by the recent winter weather, Francis said. “But they’re back up and going now,” resuming pouring concrete Tuesday.   

The $1,601,206.54 project, being done by Suchy Construction, is the second of two cost-share projects the KDOT approved for the city, the other being the resurfacing 10th Street with both totaling $3.3 million.

Council, commission planning joint meeting

Great Bend City Administrator Kendal Francis and new Police Chief Steve Haulmark attended the Barton County Commission meeting Monday morning. The consensus was that the commission and the council needed to meet, Fracis told the city council Monday.

“They echoed the sentiment that they would like to get together with the joint meeting,” Francis said. “And I told them we were working to schedule that.” As of now, they are looking at the end of March on a Monday when there is no council meeting. 

Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge rapidly approaching

The Great Bend Economic Development Inc. and Great Bend Chamber of Commerce’s Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge is only a month away, GBED President Sara Hayden said, addressing the City Council Monday night. It takes place from noon to 1 p.m. March 4 at the Events Center, and will be open to the public. 

“I really would encourage you or anybody in the public to please come out and see what these kids have put together,” she said. “There’s a lot of creative ideas. These students are very excited and they’ve spent time on it.”

Among the panel of four judges is Mayor Cody Schmidt. A number of people have volunteered to serve as mentors in the month leading up to the challenge as well.

This is a competition created for grades 9-12 to encourage entrepreneurship. The challenge will combine two different segments. 

In the first segment, all participants will put together a trade show presentation and share it with the public. They will also present their formal four-minute presentation to the judges.

Next, the top 10 participants will be announced and will move on to segment two. They be asked to set up their trade show presentation and present to the judges once more, and this time the judges will have the opportunity to ask questions and interact with the participants.

First, second and third-place winners will take home cash prizes totaling over $2,000.

Third place will receive $500, second place will receive $750 and first place will receive $1,000 and the opportunity to continue on to the statewide competition.

Entrepreneurship key to eco devo effort

Fostering entrepreneurship is a critical piece of the economic development puzzle, Great Bend Economic Development President Sara Hayden said. 

“We are working diligently to create an entrepreneurship program,” she said in a report to the City Council Monday night. “We want to have a program in place to support and encourage entrepreneurship in the community, because as we know in our rural community, entrepreneurship is really going to be our most successful way to see growth.”

This would also be attractive to outsiders, such as potential businesses, looking in to see such a plan in place, she said.

In this, they hope to include an incubator setup, mentorship potential, revolving loan programs and competitive opportunities. “But, as you can imagine, it does take some time to put everything in place,” she said, noting more detail will be released later.

Workforce development an ongoing project

The effort to establish a Workforce Development Program in Great Bend continues, Hayden told the City Council. 

“I’m currently working with all the other organizations in town to create a comprehensive set of offerings,” she said. “We have about 20 different members that are working in different forms of workforce. It’s taking everybody to come together and really analyze what we offer and what more we need to offer. I’m really excited about what we may be able to accomplish with that.”