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Great Bend City Council quick reads – July 20
Next Kendal’s Koffee planned
events center remodel
The project to remodel the office portion of the Great Bend Events Center is 50% completed. Pictured is work being done in one of the meeting rooms. - photo by DALE HOGG Great Bend Tribune

The next Kendal’s Koffee is set for 8-9:30 a.m. Friday, July 31, City Administrator Kendal Francis said. The informal public question-and-answer sessions is set to take place at Heizer Park, at Eighth and Heizer streets.

“It will be face-to-face, but we will also be streaming live on Facebook,” he said.  “We’re trying to get back out in a live setting.”

Last day for city pool on the horizon

The last day for swimming at Great Bend’s Wetlands Aquatic Park is scheduled for Sunday, Aug. 9, City Administrator Kendal Francis told the City Council Monday night.

“That is rapidly approaching,” he said. “We did look at the possibility of trying to extend that date out because we know that school has been delayed until after Labor Day.”

However, the issue that they are running into is the loss of some of our senior lifeguards due to college commitments, he said. “To be adequately staffed with a number of guards and the leadership in place wasn’t going to work for us to continue with that operation.”

Birdhouse tour to be resuscitated

An effort is underway to revive the Great Bend Convention and Visitors Bureau’s self-guided birdhouse tour, which features decorative fiberglass birdhouses placed in front of businesses throughout the community.  

“We want to revitalize that,” CVB Director Christina Hayes told the Great Bend City Council Monday night. “We want to brighten them up.”

Started about 10 years ago by former CVB Director Cris Collier, the tour includes decorative “birdhouses,” 3 to 5 feet tall, featuring art based on a theme chosen by the businesses that purchased them.

It has been a popular attraction since, Hayes said, adding state tourism officials also liked the idea. 

She hopes to get local artists involved and have the work underway in the next couple of months.


Bid approved for dragstrip

It’s been a long time coming, but the finish line is getting closer.

The Great Bend City Council Monday night approved a bid from Suchy Construction of Great Bend of $1,601,206.54 for the historic Sunflower Rod and Custom Association drag strip. 

In October 2019, the city was awarded funding through the Kansas Department of Transportation Cost Share program for the demolition and reconstruction of the dragstrip. The city recently solicited bids for the project, receiving seven bids, said Joel Kroschell with EBH Engineers of Great Bend, the firm handling the design and construction services for $51,000. 

Suchy Construction was the low bidder. Aaron Suchy has worked with SRCA in this endeavor and is intimately familiar with the needs and requirements of the project. 

City staff feels confident that Suchy can deliver a quality finished product.  

What makes this project special is the concrete used that has to meet stringent National Hot Rod Association standards. “It is a special mix,” Kroschell said.

There will be routine testing for the strength of the concrete, as well as for the flatness, he said. 

City Administrator Kendal Francis said the city’s match is 25% of the total project with the state paying 75%. KDOT awarded Great Bend a total of $3.3 million for the dragstrip and the resurfacing of much of 10th Street (U.S. 56). 

The 10th Street portion comes to $1,461,028.

The city is responsible for 100% of the design and engineering charges.

Events Center office complex leaks being addressed

With the remodeling of the Great Bend Events Center office complex half completed and bare sheetrock replacing the original dark brown paneling, the Great Bend City Council Monday night approved a change order for the project to patch leaks that have allowed rain water to seep into the building. 

Following the June 21 storm, it was discovered that water was leaking through cracks in the exterior stucco west wall of the office area portion. City staff explored several repair options and have been waiting on a decision from the city’s insurance company before making a recommendation, Building Inspector Logan Burns said. 

“We do have a water issue,” he said. “Right now, it is holding up the project.”

Insurance has now informed us that they are denying the claim. 

The quickest and most cost-effective option is to apply an elastomeric coating (basically a watertight super thick layer of paint) to the exterior walls which can be tinted to match the rest of the building. This is not a permanent solution. 

This will involve pressure washing most of the building’s exterior to remove all the mold and mildew. Then, cracks would be filled, followed by a coat of primer then the coating.

Most of the problems have been found on the west and north sides of the structure. There were few issues on the east side.

However, it will provide several years of protection (Burns estimates 15-20 years) which allows the city time to build funds for a permanent fix, he said. 

Most important, it will also allow the interior remodeling to continue in a timely manner, he said. 

Brentwood Builders of Great Bend is able to do this work for $26,500 and allow them to complete the project. It will take about three days, but it has to be done in low winds. 

As for a warranty, there’s no guarantee because of the plaster surface the coating is being applied to, Burns said. “But it is definitely better than what we have now.”  

The addition was built in 1971, Burns said. The way it was constructed makes finding a permanent solution difficult.

bird house tour
Decorative birdhouses, like this one in front of Renue Salon and Spa in downtown Great Bend, are a popular self-guided tourist attraction. Plans are in the works to revitalize the birdhouses. - photo by DALE HOGG Great Bend Tribune