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Great Bend City Council quick reads - July 19
Sports Complex turf project starts
new police station site
The Great Bend City Council Tuesday night approved hiring a construction manager for the new Police Station at 12th and Baker. - photo by DALE HOGG Great Bend Tribune

The installation of artificial turf on the ball fields at the Great Bend Sports Complex has gotten underway, City Administrator Kendal Francis said during is report to the City Council Monday night. 

The survey crew was there last week.

“Also, they’ve begun the geotechnical work taking some core samples on the infields out there. And so that will start in full swing here pretty shortly.”

This includes the installation of artificial turf on the infields and bullpens of the four sports complex fields and Langrehr Field. Hellas Construction, Austin, Texas, had the winning bid of $1,360,700.

It is a joint project of the City, Unified School District 428 of Great Bend and the Great Bend Recreation Commission. 

Funding options considered for Heizer Park

Although there is no definite plan in place, the City of Great Bend is working to piece together funding for improvements to Heizer Park, City Administrator Kendal Francis told the City Council Monday night.

“We are in the process of writing for a grant from the Department of Parks Wildlife, Parks and Tourism,” Francis said. “So we needed a design concept and pricing to include in that grant program.”

Bids were sought, with two respondents.

“We haven’t really gotten to the point of whether or not we’ll even move forward,” he said. The grant application is due at the end of September with the funding not available until the first of 2022.

Last August, the city in conjunction with the Great Bend Recreation Commission conducted a community survey regarding potential improvements of the park at Eighth and Heizer streets. That identified the four top priorities – new playground equipment, bathrooms, additional lighting for security and then picnic areas.

“These are what we’d like to try to focus on over the course of the next year to two as funding becomes available,” Francis said. They are looking at American Rescue Plan Act money, some funding promised through the Harms Trust, a possible small grant through the Golden Belt Community Foundation, and maybe a partnership with the Great Bend Kiwanis Club.

“But as far as moving forward with a defined idea to bring the council, we haven’t gotten to that point yet,” Francis said.

The park was brought up during the Monday meeting by Ward 1 Councilman Alan Moeder. He was upset by an email from Francis outlining the bids.

“What are we actually doing down there?” he said. He felt caught off guard by the email and was concerned the council had not been in the loop on the process.

Wheatland Electric Cooperative Inc. announced in April that it awarded a $1,000 Sharing Success Fund Grant to install additional lighting at the park. 

It was in August of last year that Francis held a Kendal’s Koffee at Heizer Park. It was a chance to highlight the coming changes to the park in southeast Great Bend.

City Council returns meetings to City Hall

After holding its meetings at the Great Bend Events Center since last spring to allow for COVID-19 distancing, the Great Bend City Council will return to meeting at City Hall, 1209 Williams St., starting Aug. 3. That was the decision of the council meeting Monday night at the center.

The matter was brought up by Mayor Cody Schmidt during the report from Convention and Visitors Bureau Director and Community Coordinator Christina Hayes. Her CVB office is housed at the center, and she was all for the move.

“I know that you all love this extra space, but when it’s set up like this with the technology, I cannot rent it out so we are losing revenue,” Hayes said. Rental of the facility is a key part of the CVB funding.

“If you would please move back home, that would be really great for revenue purposes,” she said. “I’m not able to make any money on this space until you’re not meeting here.”

“That’s a nice way to say,” Schmidt said of Hayes’ plea. “We need to get back to our old stomping grounds.” 

Work continuing on Police Station, City Hall project

The project to replace the current, aging Police Department and relocate City Hall is moving forward. That was the report from City Administrator Kendal Francis as he gave his regular update to the City Council Monday night.

“We received eight bids from architects,” he said. “Our committee is in the process of reviewing those and selecting finalists to interview.”

The council will make a selection when it meets Aug. 16. 

Francis said they have also released the request for proposal for a construction manager. “So that project is just moving forward pretty well.”

As for the Police Station, for eight months, a mayoral committee researched options for a location. After much consideration, the committee recommended constructing a new facility on the city-owned parking lot at 12th and Baker in what will be an estimated $5.5 million project.

This 25,000-square-foot facility would also incorporate the Municipal Court and parking.

As for City Hall, that cost is estimated at $2.4 million. This involves the remodeling the remaining 21,000 square feet of the office complex on the back side of the city-owned Events Center.

The other 7,000 square feet have already been redone. This includes the Great Bend Economic Development Inc. office, two large breakout rooms, and extra space for the Convention and Visitors Bureau. It is also where the City Council has been meeting.

The city will seek a .4% sales tax to cover quality of life improvements and service bonds funding the station and city offices.