It’s good news for the city effort to make improvements to an important local recreation asset.
City Administrator Howard Partington announced recently that the community will get help with its effort to improve access to the Arkansas River for recreational use.
“The Engineering Department receive notice from the US Army Corps of Engineers stating that the river access improvements were approved with minor exceptions,” Partington reported. “The plans will be turned over the Public Works Department for construction of the proposed improvements.”
City officials have been working with the Corps on improvements and enhancements since it was made aware of concerns about the condition of that river system.
The city was warned earlier this year by Army Corps of Engineers Levee Safety Program Manager Jim Martell that it needs to do more to protect the flood control levees and to keep ATV drivers from causing damage to those areas.
That issue continues under study by the city staff and a special meeting for the council on that issue is expected to be scheduled.
Martell reported to the council that inspections have shown that there have been continuing problems locally with fences being cut, ruts being driven into the levees, damage done to the tops of the levees and even areas where protecting cement block — “riprap” — has been dislodged during recreational use.
In an unrelated program, Partington also recently reported that the construction of the sports complex has been completed.
“Construction progress at the Great Bend Sports Complex is complete and work has begun on the punch list items identified from the Aug. 25 substantial completion walk through with the architect,” Partington reported.
And in yet another recreation issue, the city administrator also reported that work continues to seek ways to improve Vets Lake.
He said local officials have met with representatives from Kansas Department of Health and Environment and from Wildlife and Parks “to discuss Veterans’ Lake and explore possible solutions to the problems with the blue-green algae. These individuals have agreed to share some of the issues with the lake at a future council meeting in October,” Partington reported.
He said the state experts have been helpful and it’s hoped their plans may make the lake more healthy. “We had a very, very good discussion. We’re going to try a number of things,” Partington commented.