It has been a busy year and it has been a good year for Great Bend, Great Bend Chamber of Commerce President Jan Peters told the City Council Monday night.
She ran through what amounted to a brief year in review during here monthly economic development report. “I am going to take a look back,” she said.
Among the highlights were numerous new businesses. These included Golden Belt Cinema 6 downtown, Family Dollar, on east 10th Street, Papa Murphy’s Pizza, Baskin Robbins Ice Cream, tire recycler Blizzard Energy, Sutherlands, Old Chicago Bistro, Handle Bar and Grill, Ace Hardware and Cornerstone Automotive.
Big news also included the local effort to keep Fuller Brush, now known as Fuller Industries, in Great Bend and an expansion at Great Bend Regional Hospital.
In addition to the business activity, this year also marked the sixth-annual Big Bend Bike Rally and the associated first-ever motocross event. There was also the Great Bend Farm and Ranch Expo and Kids Ag Day.
Peters said she is currently working with “nine active projects” that she may be able to announce in the near future.
Great Bend saw visits from senators Pat Roberts and Jerry Moran, and Kansas Commerce Secretary Pat George and Kansas Transportation Secretary Mike King. The city also drew coverage in state and national publications.
Looking to the future, Peters said the local Young Professionals group is fostering young leaders. Currently, there are 435 members.
Furthermore, “you set housing as a top priority,” she said. “We are seeing the fruits of our labor come to fruition.”
The council established a Rural Housing Incentive District, which provides tax credits for developers. Peters said these credits were crucial and now there are several housing projects in the works.
“This has been a nice year,” said Mayor Mike Allison.
In other business, the council:
• Approved an abatement for a motor vehicle nuisance at 417 Third St., owned by Cristal Aguilera.
• Announced that Todd Anspaugh and Doug Chambers’ terms on the Planning Commission are set to expire at year’s end and that there are two openings on the commission.
• Heard a report on the activities of city departments from City Administrator Howard Partington.