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Great Bend City Council quick reads – Nov. 16, 2020
City to celebrate 200th anniversary of the Santa Fe Trail
santa fe trail 200th
The Barton County Historical Society will join with Great Bend and others to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the Santa Fe Trail next year.

The year 2021 marks the 200th anniversary of the Santa Fe Trail, Great Bend Community Coordinator Christina Hayes told the City Council Monday night, reminding them that Great Bend sits smack on the historic route.

So, celebrations are planned, she said. “It’s been something I’ve been working on all year with a group in our region.”

She was referring to the Quivira Chapter of the Santa Fe Trail Association which includes Barton, Rice and McPherson counties.

Various activities to observe this occasion are planned throughout this area, she said. Even Great Bend events, such as the Home for the Holidays Parade next year, may include the trail in the theme.

“We’ll be adding in little pieces to events” to celebrate, Hayes said, noting that there no specific special events being planned. But, there will be speakers at the Barton County Historical Society, the Great Bend Public Library is planning special book readings and the schools are looking at a coloring contest.


Historic milestone on horizon for city

The City of Great Bend turns 150 years old in 2022, and Great Bend Community Coordinator Christina Hayes said plans are already in the works on how to celebrate that milestone. She was addressing the City Council Monday night.

Hayes has been working with City Administrator Kendal Francis on the preparations. “There are a couple different things that we’re working.”

They are including an anniversary celebration in the city’s strategic plan. “So you’ll see some things coming down the pike and on that.”

Local businesses want your Christmas business

Great Bend Community Coordinator Christina Hayes had a plea for local residents when she addressed the City Council Monday night.

“We do want to encourage people to shop local,” she said. That is the impetus behind the annual Explore Great Bend program, now in its 10th year.

“The stores in November are trying to encourage people to shop early,” Hayes said. “We want people to go and shop and see what we have locally before they go to the big box stores or go out of town for shopping.” 

This was something local shop owners decided to do a decade ago. “They said ‘how can we promote ourselves.’”

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the national retailers have all started their Black Friday sales early and trying to get people to shop all this month. Now, local retailers are following suit.

“I think it’s something that works,” Hayes said. “It’s something that that’s good for our stores, and we’re going to get people exposed to what we have available here in town.”

City eco devo board review committee named

Great Bend Mayor Cody Schmidt Monday night named a committee  made up of governing body members to review the applications for the Great Bend Economic Development Inc. Board of Directors. He appointed himself, and councilmen Cory Urban and Dana Dawson.

Come the end of the year, there will be two open seats on the board. Applications were sought through Oct. 30.

Both the city and the Great Bend Chamber of Commerce will review the job candidates.

Street work, dragstrip projects almost done

Two ongoing Great Bend are in the final stretches, said City Administrator Kendal Francis Monday night of street improvements and the Sunflower Rod and Custom Association dragstrip. He was addressing the City Council in his regular departmental update.

“The street improvements are nearly complete,” he said. Stone street north of 10th is all that was left and it was expected to be done before week’s end.

Inspections of the improvements will also take place this week. Venture Corporation of Great Bend is handling this project.

As for the racetrack, the work is ongoing, Francis said. Suchy Construction of Great Bend began pouring concrete Monday on the far west end of the project which includes the shut-down lanes.

“That was exciting to see,” Francis said.

In July, the council approved a bid from Suchy of $1,601,206.54 for the race track. In October 2019, the city was awarded funding through the Kansas Department of Transportation Cost Share program for the demolition and reconstruction of the track.

Ball field lighting about ready to be turned on

The installation of the new lights for Al Burns field at Veterans Memorial Park is essentially done, City Administrator Kendal Francis said, while addressing the City Council Monday night.

“I spoke to P&S Electric today,” he said. They have already been testing the new lights.

There’s still a little bit of work remaining to remove the old poles, he said. The standards are down, but the removal of the old bases remains to be done.

“Once we’re certain that all is ready to go, we’ll probably turn them on for an evening so that the public can see the results of the project,” he said.

This is part of a larger joint project with the Great Bend Recreation Commission to update lights on all the ball fields and tennis courts at Vets.

old downtown gb
Shown is downtown Great Bend in the 1870s. The city will celebrate 150 years in 2022.