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City getting royal treatment
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Great Bend Chamber of Commerce President Jan Peters summed up this past year this way – “2014 was a ‘Royal’ year.”
Peters addressed the Great Bend City Council Monday night. She gave her annual report, comparing the local success to that of a well-liked professional baseball team.
“Much like those fabulous Kansas City Royals, we hit our own home runs with new companies such as Central National Bank, Plains State Bank, and Almost Home,” she said.
“We clinched a major pennant with Sea Port Airlines and Housing Opportunities Inc. And we headed to the World Series with American Ag Credit, Bartlett Grain and Overland Property Group.”
And, she added, the recruiting efforts look very promising for 2015 with the opening of a new Holiday Inn Express, HAZ-MAT and a project to be announced early next year.
“So, how did we get here?” she asked. “Lots of training, great leadership, talent, hard work and a passion for our community. Thank you for having the vision, the leadership, teamwork, ownership, and the tenacity to believe in the people of our great community who also believe this community is world class.”
Here are some of the numbers from 2014:
• Bank Deposits continue to grow and have increased from $553,000 in 2005 to $665,723 in 2013
• Building permits were issued this year resulted in $23,214,017 in capital investment.
• Population has increased from 15,453 in 2001 to approximately 16,000 today.
• There were 542,384,016 barrels of oil produced in Barton County this year, compared to 524,469,418 in 2005. And for the last two years, it was the largest cumulative gas production of natural gas since 2005.
As a side note, there were over 2,000 new oil and gas wells drilled in Barton County this past year.
• City sales tax receipts increased. If December numbers stay the same as last year, Great Bend will go over the $2 million mark this year. In fact 2012 and 2013 are the largest sales receipts behind 2014.
• There were 19 new businesses opened and 90 jobs created.
• Capital investment in the city was $47.5 million.
When Peters referred to civic leadership, she referred not only to the council and other city officials. She included the growing Barton County Young Professionals organization.
“There are than 700 Young Professionals who carry on this passion  and are ready, willing and able to help us in this pursuit,” she said. This is a 66 percent growth in the group’s membership.