Old hanger to be razed
The Great Bend City Council Monday night authorized Mayor Mike Allison to sign a memorandum of agreement between the Federal Aviation Administration, the Kansas State Historic Preservation Office and the City of Great Bend, paving the way for the demolition of a damaged World War II-era hanger at Great Bend Municipal Airport.
In question is the northern-most massive hanger that housed B-29 bombers during the war when an airbase was in operation at what is now the airport. The property was acquired by the city from the federal government in 1947.
Before anything could be done, the city had to get approval from the FAA and KSHPO. As a condition, it must document the beleaguered structure and compile a history of it. It must also see that the remaining hanger, in civilian use today, be placed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Study to look at ways to fix Vets Lake
It is a given that the geese on Veterans Memorial Lake must go if it has any hope of returning to its former glory, but the murky lake plagued by toxic blue-green algae still has to be cleaned.
That is the intent of a $9,800 agreement with CH2M HILL of Englewood, Colo. approved by the Great Bend City Council Monday. The company will work with the Kansas Department of Health and Environment to study Vets and ways to remediate the algae problem and present its recommendations.
City Administrator Howard Partington said this project is to find a proven way to fix the lake as opposed to previous discussions that have centered on how to keep contaminants out of the lake.
“We just want to get off that doggone list,” he said of the KDHE’s posting of contaminated lakes in Kansas.
The council agreed to the proposal on the condition that the goose problem also be addressed. City officials will proceed with any “legal and appropriate means necessary” to keep the birds away.
Fencing, miniature drones and sound devices may be implemented.
It took a tie-breaking vote by Great Bend Mayor Mike Allison Monday night to approve the construction of an electronic directory kiosk at Great Bend Municipal Cemetery.
The idea, presented by Cemetery Board President Justin Engleman, called for the phone booth-sized structure to be built near the cemetery’s main entrance. Produced and installed by Indianola, Neb.,-based Windy Prairie Systems, it would include a touch-screen monitor and free software updates, and cost $46,800.
Engleman said it would house burial plot information for both the Broadway and 24th Street locations. There is also the option to include photos of the grave sites, obituaries and other information, and there would be a link to the city’s website for off-site access.
The money will come from the cemetery’s perpetual funds account, which is made up of a portion of the fee charged for each grave site. There are no lots left for sale in the original cemetery on Broadway.
“We’ve talked for years about a kiosk,” Engleman said. With 15,000 burial sites, he said it was impossible to find anyone.
City personnel said they are asked daily where they can find specific graves.
However, there was opposition to the idea. Why not just put the information on the web, place a sign stating this at the cemetery and offer free wireless internet?
This would be cheaper, council member Dana Dawson said. A few years ago, the city purchased software and planned on posting all the burial locations on line, but that never came to fruition.
Council member Randy Myers voiced concern about vandalism. Although the screen would be protected, there were exposed areas that would be subject to damage.
Before action could be taken on the motion to approve the kiosk, another motion to table the matter to a later meeting was offered.
This led to a 4-4 split, and Allison stepped in and voted against delaying the issue.
Then the vote was called for on the original motion. This also led to a 4-4 split.
At this point, Allison voted in favor of the kiosk.
In a related matter, a unanimous council approved changes to Great Bend Cemetery Rules and Regulations. Basically, the changes simplified the rules.
In other business, the council:
• Voted to allow changes in the state’s concealed carry gun laws to take affect on city properties without any further objections. In a nutshell, the new law allows concealed guns in most public places unless the local governmental entity has systems in place to assure public safety. After requesting a six-month extension to study the measure, it was determined that any safety plan would be cost prohibitive.
Council members didn’t like the idea, but felt they had no choice. “This is a bad law,” council member Ken Roberts said.
• Approved a request from Great Bend Regional Hospital Administrator Pam Chambers to make the east side of Cleveland Street from Second to Sixth streets a no-parking zone. Chambers said there had been several complaints from patients using the medical facilities in the area about trying to navigate Cleveland with cars parked on both sides of the street.
• Approved a rezoning request from Mark and Krista Ball for a tract of property located in Villa #4( near 4th and Coolidge). It will go from C-2 (General Commercial) to R-1 (Single Family Dwelling). The Planning Commission voted to approve the rezoning request.
The Balls wish to build a house on the property, but there are other issues to deal with before that project is finalized.
• Approved a rezoning request from Lee Morss for a tract of property located in the three-mile area (south of SE 10 Road just east of US Highway 281). He is sought to have it changed from A (Agriculture) to LM-SC (Light
Manufacturing – Service Commercial). The Planning Commission voted to approve the rezoning request.
Morss also applied for a conditional-use permit for the expansion of an existing salvage storage yard on the property. This was also approved. Morss said he is actively cleaning up the property and is willing to help neighboring property owners with clean-up efforts as well.
• Heard a report from Community Coordinator Christina Hayes. The highlight was the news that sales tax revenue in Great Bend was 9.6 percent higher in September 2013 compared to September 2012.
Hayes also reviewed the Explore Great Bend events and gave an update on the June Jaunt 2014 plans.
• Approved abatements at: 2507 Lakin, owned by Renee Little, 819 Stone, owned by Andres Briseno and Doris Arispe, 2202 Tyler, owned by Alisha Kitterman, and 701 Holland, owned by Gene Chinh Nguyn, all for accumulation of refuse; and 1101 Morphy, owned by Larzo and Yolanda Guerra, for accumulation of refuse and motor vehicle nuisance.
On another abatement note, the council reversed a motion it had approved earlier to abate Mark Alloway’s property at 1010 Frey. Much of the problems originally found in May had been resolved and what remained was stacked behind privacy fences, not visible from the street.
• Approved the annual resolution exempting the city from the GASB 34 requirements by obtaining a generally accepted accounting (GAAP) principles waiver for the 2013 Annual Audit.
• Heard an update on city departmental activities from City Administrator Howard Partington.