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Great Bend City Council quick reads – Monday, June 3
Council talks ditches, traffic lights, a retirement, code enforcement and shopping local
24th. main lights
A new control box has been installed for the traffic lights at 24th and Main. It had to be replaced after it was destroyed in May by a suspect fleeing law enforcement.

Rain delays 24th and Main ditch, culvert work

During his update to the City Council Monday night, Great Bend City Administrator Kendal Francis said work on drainage issues on North Main Street at 24th street should resume this week after being delayed by rain-induced soggy conditions.

“We’ll continue to be digging those ditches now that things have started to dry out a little bit more we’ll continue moving on that project.”

Work will eventually continue eastward along 24th and the U.S. 281 bypass.

Street Department crews are going to be cleaning out and regrading ditches and replacing the curb near the Mr. Burger restaurant. “We discovered a water leak that has existed there probably for quite some time.”

The leak explains why there have been continual curb problems in the area, he said. “So crews are trying to locate that and make the repairs.”

No one has complained about the leakage, he said, adding they have not found it yet. But, they believe it is the city’s water main in the area.

Traffic lights at 24th and main back on

The traffic signals at 24th in Maine traffic lights are flashing once again, after a suspect fleeing law enforcement crashed into the control box in May. This forced motorists to approach the intersection as a four-way stop.

However, City Administrator Kendal Francis Monday night reported that the control cabinet would be installed on Wednesday.

May 19, The Great Bend Public Works Department announced the intersection would be a four-way stop until further notice. The damage to the controls occurred the night before. 

As a result, the control box needed to be completely replaced. It took a couple of weeks for the new device to arrive and be installed.


Long-time city employee retiring

Long-time Great Bend employee Tim Wornkey is retiring after 36 years with the city. Wornkey is currently the cemetery supervisor.

“I’d like to take an opportunity to congratulate Tim on his upcoming retirement,” City Administrator Kendal Francis said during his departmental update to the City Council Monday night. Friday will be his last day.

“So we congratulate him and tell him, ‘thank you’ for his service to the city and to the citizens here in Great Bend.” 

Council plans code enforcement study session

The Great Bend City Council will hold a work session following its June 15 meeting to discuss property code enforcement and the abatement processes. City Administrator Francis reminded council members of the session when they met Monday night.

Code enforcement revisions are part of the city’s multi-year strategic plan which went into effect this year. Francis said there have been preliminary discussions on the issue, but suggested it be the subject of a council work session.

The idea is to streamline the process and make it more efficient, City Administrator Kendal Francis has noted. Discussions will also likely include city ordinances on penalty levels and what to do with repeat offenders. 

Great Bend residents urged to shop local

The Shop Central Kansas Businesses campaign has been officially announced on Facebook, said Great Bend City Councilwoman Jolene Biggs Monday night. She gave a report to the council on behalf of Great Bend Economic Development Inc. President Jessica Milsap.

“It’s a way for local businesses to connect with local shoppers to help sell their wares,” she said. “It’s pretty interesting because you forget sometimes about the smaller businesses. Go ahead and look at those businesses and utilize them when you can.” 

The idea was borne out of the series of business summits sponsored by GBEC Inc., Biggs said. “The purpose of these summits is for local businesses to have a voice and share ideas to keep their economies surviving and thriving during the pandemic.”

They understand that COVID-19 has created a great stress on small businesses, or businesses in general. “And so we were trying to bring people and different types of businesses together. It was a sharing of information and that’s been pretty interesting.”

Another idea they’re working on is a venture capital firm, which includes mentors, an incubator and venture capital for small business startups, Biggs said.

“High on the list of goals for these summits is creating a downtown destination with unique shops, dining and entertainment for our community,” she said. That seems to be really important for people and it’s important for employers to be able to bring employees to town. 

In an era of shopping online, the need for fostering a shopping destination is even more important, she said. “We’ll be continuing to do those business summits, as long as businesses are interested in doing that and try to get ideas.” 

This story was updated on June 6, 2020, to correct information about the retirement of Tim Wornkey.