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City officials meet with housing developer
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Two weeks after news that an apartment project fell through and a discussion on a local housing shortage, the Great Bend City Council Monday night learned there may be some relief to the problem.
In his update to the Council, City Administrator Howard Partington said he, Mayor Mike Allison, Great Bend Chamber of Commerce President Jan Peters met with a developer who is interested in building homes in Great Bend. The city needs to put together material to submit to the Kansas Department of Commerce relating to land area that we would like to make eligible for the Rural Housing Incentive District program.
The RHID is administered through the Kansas Department of Commerce and designed to aid developers to build housing within communities by assisting in the financing of public improvements. RHID captures 100 percent of the incremental increase in real property taxes created by a housing development project for up to 15 years. In order to take advantage of the incentive, property must be within a redevelopment district.
Districts are defined by the City or County and must be based on the Housing Needs Analysis. RHID is authorized for any city in Kansas with a population less than 40,000 in a county with a population of less than 60,000 or for any county with a population of less than 40,000.
It was at the Aug. 4 Council meeting that members learned a project to develop a 32-unit apartment complex planned for Great Bend, dubbed The Reserves at Trailridge, would not come to pass. The developer, Topeka-based Overland Property Group, could not secure the federal tax credits it needed.
These low- to moderate-income multi-family apartments would have been located on 5.36 acres near Eight and Grant streets, across the street from Wal-Mart.
This news sparked a discussion about housing needs in the community. “We need housing,” said council member Dana Dawson.
“We’re desperate,” said Mayor Mike Allison. The Amber Meadows development evolved into an area for more expensive homes, which is not what was originally envisioned.
 Peters said she and others are working on the shortage. “We’re pulling out all the stops.” 
They are continuing to work with Overland Properties, with other developers, and are looking into grant and federal housing initiatives that might help fund housing developments.
Other highlights of Partington’s report included”

• Continuing to work on Sports Complex marketing efforts, the New Boston Creative Group has been in close contact with our local promotional team to ensure success and get bids from untapped markets for our area.
• Put together team packets for the Sunflower Rod and Custom Association Speed Scene Live Nationals with the help of the Great Bend Convention and Visitors Bureau. The SRCA leaders are really working to bring the people into town more than in the past, more sharing events will be planned for the future.
•  The first youth academy of the year was Friday, June 14. The last one this year is June 28.  

• Officer Jefferson Davis did a “True Lies” presentation for the Kiwanis and Rotary clubs, attended the Central Kansas Partnership meeting at Barton County Health Department., and assisted in the Bike Rodeo at Brit Spaugh Park.
• June 11-13 – Commissioned officers attended mandatory bean bag training on the simulator at Barton Community College.
• June 14 – Youth Academy, class number 37.

Public Works
• Participated in Youth Academy.
•  Helped with traffic control for June Jaunt
• Poured 640 feet of curb and gutter on Stone Street between 17th and 18th. Waiting on weather to cooperate to finish the street.
• Painting crosswalks and other street markings.  Did some milling on the drag strip west of the finish line.
• Cleaned wet wells on all sewage pump stations. 
•  Painting Streetscape light poles
•  Sanitarian: 738-year-to-date complaints, 48 new complaints (19 by citizens and 29 by staff), 75 complaints completed by citizens, 11 abatement notices sent, eight abatement performed and eight cars brought into compliance.

• Submitted Progress Plans to KDOT on June 6 for the Improvements at 24th and Main streets.

• Fire Chief Mike Napolitano attended Regional Homeland Security Meeting in Hutchinson.
• The department participated in Youth Academy