The installation of artificial turf at the Great Bend Sports Complex “is moving along very well,” City Administrator Kendal Francis said in an update to the City Council Monday night.
“The actual installation of the turf began last week and they made significant progress on field number one, which is the which is the large baseball field,” he said. “They’re telling us that the projected completion date will be mid-January.”
But if they get favorable temperatures, it could move could move a little faster. Hellas Construction, Austin, Texas, needs temperatures above 50 degrees so the glue that adheres the seams of the turf works properly, Francis said. “So obviously the next couple of days aren’t very favorable, but it looks like we got a stretch of warmer temperatures coming up here for a week to 10 days that might make progress go pretty well. So it has moved it has moved pretty fast.”
This is a $1,360,700 project shared by the city the Great Bend Recreation Commission and USD 428. It covers installing artificial turf on the infields and bullpens of the four sports complex fields and Langrehr field.
Park restroom hours changing
The restrooms at Brit Spaugh Park and Veterans Memorial Park will be changing to their winter hours, Great Bend City Administrator Kendal Francis said. That means they will be open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The city only has couple of restrooms that are all-weather and all year round.
Public invited to Suelter’s retirement reception
Longtime Great Bend City Attorney Bob Suelter will retire as of Nov. 12. A come-and-go reception is planned for him from 2-4 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 9, at the Great Bend Municipal Court, 1217 Williams St.
“We encourage people to come give their well wishes and see if we can talk him into staying another year,” City Administrator Kendal Francis said. Suelter started with the city in 1979.
On Oct. 18, the City Council approved retaining pair of attorneys from the local firm Watkins Calcara to fill the void – Allen Glendenning and Jeffry Kuhlman.
Glendenning will serve in the city attorney role and Kuhlmnan in the city prosecutor role.
GBED childcare facility coming along
Great Bend Economic Development President Sara Hayden told the City Council Monday night that they got the first architectural rendering of a planned childcare facility. After a few minor changes, the final version should be back in a couple weeks.
“Then we’ll move on to more funding options,” she said. “We hope to start build on that as soon as we can next year.”
They will be getting the original childcare task force group together in the coming month, she said. But, “if you or someone you know would be a great fit for that, we would be open to entertaining more members just to make sure we have the right people at the table.”
They are working closely with Garden City to duplicate successful efforts there. The Finney County Childcare and Early Learning Network board was formed in 2019 and began work in identifying spaces that could accommodate childcare. The group has been awarded tax credits to help expand services to address long-term workforce requirements in the growing community.
Her group is developing a self-sustaining childcare center in Great Bend. This is just the start and they hope to continue with this model and establish centers in other county communities.
She said they will not compete with existing childcare providers. Instead, they want to network with them and offer assistance where needed.
Loft project workshop planned for next week
The downtown Great Bend loft project workshop is coming up next week, Great Bend Economic Development Inc. President Sara Hayden said, offering a report to the City Council Monday night. The two-day event runs from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday and 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Great Bend Events Center, 3111 10th St.
Great Bend Economic Development has hired professional group Upstairs Downtown of Detroit, Mich., to offer a free workshop about utilizing/building out upper floor spaces in downtowns.
“These gentlemen, Dan Carmody and Mike Jackson, have been doing these types of projects for over 20 years and will be able to offer everything from better understanding of the upstairs downtown market, building codes to make it all possible, examples of previous projects and so much more,” she said.
“We are offering this for free to anybody in Great Bend that’s involved with the loft project,” she said. That includes property owners, investors, realtors, service workers, bankers and anybody else that could be a part of this effort.
“So I encourage you, if you would like to come out for that, we would love to welcome you,” she said. Registration is required to get a head count for lunch.
Registration can be done online at www.gbedinc.com/event-details/upstairs-downtown-workshop.
The City Council in July approved spending half of the city’s $2,271,654.71 in American Rescue Plan Act funds for a downtown rehabilitation project to assist in sprinkler system installation and other improvements to downtown lofts. Half of the money is coming from each of the city’s two ARPA payments (the first coming this spring and the second coming next spring).
Grants would come from these funds. These are reimbursement grants that cover up to $5.50 per square foot for renovations.
Great Bend Alive Plaza input sought
The inaugural Great Bend Alive Plaza season concluded with its final evening on Oct. 15. Now event organizer Great Bend Economic Development Inc. is seeking feedback, said GBED President Sara Hayden.
“First of all, I just want to thank all of you for allowing that to happen,” she said. The plaza sets up on select Fridays in the 2000 block of Forest Avenue in the heart of downtown.
“We had such great feedback, such a great turnout,” she said. “We can’t wait to see what next year will bring.”
But to do that, they need input from the public. “We’ve started putting out polls on our social media. So I would encourage you to participate in those or send them out to anybody. We’re looking forward to hearing what the public thinks and what the public would like to see for next year.”
Visit www.gbedinc.com. Social media links can be found there.
Workforce recruiting program up and running
Great Bend Economic Development Inc.’s “Great Bend is Hiring” – a community recruiter program, is underway, GBED President Sara Hayden said.
“The recruiting program is live now,” Hayden said. “We cannot forget about helping to support and sustain our work workforce and employers that are here. This recruiting program is part of that.”
Basically, Barton county residents can check the available job openings on GBED’s site weekly and are encouraged to send those job postings to qualified family and friends outside of Barton County. Should one of the residents’ recruits accept a position and relocate to Barton County, the community recruiter receives a cash bonus of up to $1,000.
“Next year, we hope to follow this up with an incentive for the recruited person as well,” Hayden said.
One can check out jobs and recommend recruits at www.gbedinc.com/grow-workforce.