Note: This story was updated on Feb. 18 to show the correct date for Party in the Park. The event is set for Saturday, Aug. 16.
Miniature drones, bottle rockets and herd dogs are among the methods suggested for driving geese away from Veterans Memorial Lake in an effort to reduce future algae growth. The Great Bend City Council voted Monday to implement plans from CH2M Hill, an Englewood, Colo.-based consulting firm hired to create an algae remediation report.
The study was authorized last November. Estell Johnson from CH2M’s Wichita office attended Monday’s city council meeting to review the report. Although the plan calls for chemical treatment to lower some of the phosphorus in the lake, the city still needs to prevent more phosphorus from coming in, because the blue-green algae thrive on it, Johnson said. Geese and storm-water runoff into the lake are the biggest culprits.
“We need to get ride of the geese,” Mayor Mike Allison said.
Hill agreed that a form of “goose harassment” is in order to give the lake ecosystem a chance to recover from “phosphorus loading.” The city will also begin public education, which will include letting people know why the geese are being chased from the lake and teaching them about proper use of fertilizers, which end up in the lake.
The city will also need to begin monitoring water quality, and establish a baseline before moving to steps to control the cycling of phosphorus already in the lake. After that, the chemical treatment will begin. The study recommends alum but hasn’t ruled out a product called Phoslock, which contains bentonite clay. This step is expected to cost $20,000 to $46,000.
The plan was adopted by a 7-0 vote, and City Administrator Howard Partington was told he can continue to rely on CH2M’s expertise at the firm’s hourly rate.
In other business Monday, the council:
• Heard a report from Golden Belt Humane Society Director Heather Acheson, concerning “new and positive changes taking place at the Humane Society.” In her 2013 report, she also discussed plans for the future.
• Heard a report from Dale Hogg on Be Well Bell Barton County. The leadership team, part of the Central Kansas Partnership, promotes healthy lifestyles in the county and is funded by a Kansas Health Foundation grant. BWBC advocates for “complete streets” initiatives in Great Bend and other county communities that make streets and sidewalks safe for cyclists and pedestrians.
• Approved a motion to adopt the resolution concurring with the Kansas Department of Transportation’s acceptance of the low bid for the 24th Street and Main Street improvement project. The bid went to Bryant and Bryant Construction Inc. of Halstead. The motion also commits $216,697.60 of city funds for the work to cover the city’s match and items not covered by the state aid, City Engineer Robert Winiecke said.
The total cost of the project is $490,032.48 and involves grading, surfacing and the installation of a new traffic signal.
• Heard an update from Community Coordinator Christina Hayes. Coming up are the Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference ball tournaments and the return of June Jaunt. Thursday, Sept. 11, Great Bend will be a venue for the 10th Annual Hot Rod Drag Week, sponsored by Hot Rod magazine. The city won’t have an Air Fest at the Municipal Airport this year, but Hayes said she hopes to have one in 2015.
• Approved a motion to support the second Party in the Park, set for Saturday Aug. 16, and for Hayes to book performers for the event. Up-and-coming country singer Brandy Clark is the headliner Hayes is working to line up, and another band will perform cover songs, which the crowd enjoyed dancing to at the 2013 Party. Clark’s song “Stripes” can be heard on the Internet at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=plPRmANJF_w .
• Heard Partington’s update on department activities, including snow removal (see related story). He said he has been working with attorneys with Gilmore & Bell on the development plan and agreement for two residential housing projects that will be on the March 3 city council agenda for final action. There are plans to build six four-plexes south of the bowling alley and to develop 19 lots in Amber Meadows.