County officials have shown their support for a project that is aimed at making a local facility more family friendly.
On Monday, the Barton County Commission approved issuing a letter of support for a current effort to receive federal grant money for a project to improve Stone Lake, on the south edge of Great Bend.
The county will not be involved in the project, but does endorse the city’s effort as part of a Federal Highway Administration grant, Finance Office Janet Crane told the commissioners.
County Administrator Richard Boeckman added the project is intended to improve and enhancer the community livability and improve visitors’ experience along the local scenic byway.
Assistant Great Bend City Administrator Dawn Jaeger told the commissioners the project is planned to make the Stone Lake area more family friendly. “There is quite a bit of crime down there.”
She said it’s a popular place for fishing, but not particularly ever developed as a family park environment.
This project would be an 80/20 grant with Kansas Department of Transportation and the Federal Highway Administration. The funding begins with the federal level and would pass through the KDOT to the local community.
“The application will request funding for a restroom on the north side of the Lake, a shelter for the south side and the placement of approximately 10 street lights. The city is able to request the funding under the Byway program as the improvements meet the community livability criteria,” according to information from the county.
Jaeger said this is just one step in the plans to develop the park atmosphere.
The city is working with a Stone Lake committee on long term development and in the future the plans are to also add showers, a fish cleaning station and other enhancements so the area can be developed into a regional recreation site.
Just this first step would be important to the byway development, Jaeger noted. She explained the proposed public restroom would be the only one that would be open on a 24 hour basis along the scenic byway.
If the grant is successful, it’s also been noted there will need to be an educational effort so visitors will know about the enhancements.