(EDITOR’S NOTE: This is one in a series of articles about the development of the Great Bend Convention Center.)
City officials will continue to work with the staff at the Highland Hotel to coordinate the activities at the Great Bend Convention Center for the next couple of months.
Meanwhile, the city will also continue to develop policies for the future development and operation of the center, which is now owned by the city.
City Attorney Bob Suelter told the Great Bend City Council Monday night that the staff will also continue to have long distance conversations with the owner of the hotel and work on getting one of the operatives, Lyle Patel, to come to a future council meeting.
In the mean time, Suelter stressed, the events that are already booked in the facility have to keep running, even as the city staff continues to develop plans for the future of the facility, separate from the hotel.
As was reported earlier, when the city staff started studying the structure, they reported to the council that “even a cursory examination of the facility shows that more than the purchase price is going to be needed to get the facility in shape for it to stay in competition with other convention facilities across the state. Most of the facility is unchanged from when it was built in 1981 and the simply has not been a reinvestment in it, City Administrator Howard Partington explained previously. The city also continues to investigate how the facility will be operated, who will be in charge of it from day to day and how the various maintenance and operations issues will be addressed,” it was reported shortly after local investors spent $500,000 to purchase the facility for the city.
As the work has continued, Partington reported, it’s proven difficult for the city staff to keep in contact with the owners of the hotel and it’s apparent that the city is going to need to consider moving ahead with staffing to keep the facility operating and to improve it.
What is clear is that the city will need to promote the site and one of the ways that will happen will be through the installation of a large high definition announcement sign near 10th Street, where it can be seen by an estimated 20,000-plus vehicles every day.
Work on the installation of that equipment will continue, even as the development of the city center continues, it was decided.