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Great Bend City Council quick reads – Oct. 19, 2020
Council meeting moves to Events Center; crowd expected
events center
The Great Bend Events Center will be the sight of the Nov. 2 City Council meeting, and perhaps for many meetings to come.

The Nov. 2 Great Bend City Council meeting will take place at the Events Center, City Administrator Kendal Francis told the council Monday night.

“It will be in one of the newly remodeled rooms in the rear of the center,” he said. “So, it will be an opportunity to show off some of the new remodeling.”

This involves a $500,000 renovation to a portion of the long-vacant office complex attached to the back of the venue. Included in the renovation are 7,000 square feet on the office complex first floor for use by the Convention and Visitors Bureau and Great Bend Economic Development Inc.

The work may not be completed by then, but it will be close, Francis said.

And, in another change, the meeting will be open to the public, unlike recent meetings which have been closed and available only via live streaming.

“We are expecting a large crowd to talk about one of the items on the agenda for next time,” he said.

The council will hold a work session immediately following the regular meeting that will included a presentation from Great Bend Economic Development Inc. 

In addition, “there’s been some discussions that the mayor might like to keep the meetings there at the Events Center for the unforeseen future,” Francis said. “I don’t know how long that will be, but we may we may look to move things down there for a while.”

Survey garnering input on Front Door

During his update to the Great Bend City Council Monday night, City Administrator Kendal Francis wanted to remind everybody that the city has a customer service survey available on the city’s website

“We want to get customer feedback about the utility billing office,” he said. As of Monday afternoon, they had 68 responses. 

The easiest way to find that is at the end of the city’s homepage and just scroll to the “What’s Going On” section. In the middle is a blue icon for the Front Door Water Department Survey and right beneath it is a link “Take Survey.”

“We encourage people to fill that out,” he said. There are just a few questions about the Front Door and experiences with it, and it takes only a couple of minutes to complete.

Several city projects progressing

The city of Great Bend has several projects in the works and these are moving along smoothly, City Administrator Kendal Francis said. He was addressing the City Council during his update at the Monday meeting.

• “We are continuing to work with McDonald’s,” Francis said. He was referring the city’s recent installation of delineators on 10th Street preventing westbound traffic from turning into the restaurant.

The city has installed a sign notifying drivers they must turn south on Harrison to enter the McDonald’s restaurant, but some on the council said more warning is needed. “We’re going to make a significantly larger sign,” he said. The 4-by-7-foot sign will be located a couple of blocks east of the turn. 

“We’re hoping that will get motorists’ attention to let them know that they’ll be turning on Harrison,” he said. “We want to make sure that we’re doing everything we can to alert customers on how to enter there correctly.”

Prior to the change, westbound drivers headed for the restaurant pulled into the turning lane and loaded it up against eastbound drivers who wanted to turn north onto Harrison.

• Venture Corporation of Great Bend has started assorted street improvements. “They’ve made some pretty good progress,” he said.

This week’s schedule includes the milling and paving on South Washington. They’ve already started milling on Stone Street and are doing some of the subgrade work there as well, which will be followed by paving.

“So, it’s exciting to have that done,” he said.

• The clearing of the North Main ditches has been completed, he said of the project to prevent flooding issues on Main north of 24th Street. They still have erosion control measures to complete.

• The new lighting pole installation at the Veterans Memorial Park ball fields continues. “That seems to be going pretty well,” Francis said. 

• The Sunflower Rod and Custom Association dragstrip demolition began last week.  

In July, the council approved a bid from Suchy Construction of Great Bend 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. 

Hayes teaching tourism at GBHS

Great Bend Community Coordinator Christina Hayes has had the chance to spread the word about tourism to local high school students.

“I have had chance to get to teach another two classes at Great Bend High School virtually on tourism,” she said in her report to the City Council Monday night. This has included the importance of Great Bend and what it does with our tax dollars and the transit guest tax. 

“So, I’ve (taught) a total of four classes,” she said. They may be aware of Party in the Park and June Jaunt, they may not realize what it takes to make those events happen and the role of the council.

She also talks to students about taxes and how they fund street improvements and other city projects. “It’s kind of been a fun little process to go through with the high school classes the last two years I’ve been doing that.”

Trail of Lights volunteers needed

Great Bend’s holiday tradition the Trail of Lights opens Saturday, Nov. 28, and Community Coordinator Christina Hayes told the City Council Monday night she will soon start to take volunteers to greet visitors to the lighted display.

The greeters are asked to work two-hour shifts, manning the booth at the trail entrance on the south side of Brit Spaugh Park. They track the number of car occupants, note car tag info to see where visitors are coming from, and take donations that help maintain the light displays.

Contact Hayes at the city, 620-793-4111, for more information.

front door
The City of Great Bend has a survey on its website seeking input on the Front Door facility.