Highlights of City Administrator Howard Partington’s departmental update Monday night included.
• Amber Meadows: Placement of the crushed concrete subgrade is completed with the contractor needing to complete grading and compaction of the material prior to the placement of formwork for curbs and gutters. Work is ongoing.
• Engineering Department held a pre-construction meeting with Mies Construction Inc. regarding construction of the 12-inch water main along north US 281 to the proposed Heartland Ag site north of Great Bend. Construction is anticipated to begin this week.
• Repairing washouts on the west side of Stone Lake.
• Purchased 200 tons of road salt and mixed sand and salt for the projected snow storm. Sand and salted roads Saturday.
• Flowed fire hydrants at the Blizzard Energy complex area.
• Continuing video inspection of storm lines leading into Veterans Memorial Lake.
• Sanitarian: 160 year to date complaints, 80 new complaints (six by citizens and 74 by staff), 12 complaints completed by citizens, seven abatement notices sent, nine vehicles into compliance.
• Police Department trained two days on active shooter response.
• Captain Bob Robinson attended the kick-off meeting for Great Bend Farm and Ranch Expo at the Chamber of Commerce.
• Patrol is taking part in a statewide seat belt enforcement program.
• Staff conducted officer employment testing at the Great Bend Police Department shooting range for the purpose of compiling an eligibility hiring list.
• Hosted a Pediatric Life Support class where department members attended
• Chief Attended county chiefs meeting
• Community Coordinator Christina Hayes met with Petr Grigorev of Petr’s Frame house to discuss plans for an Art Block Party to be held on Saturday as part of the June Jaunt Festival.
• Hayes is continuing to work on action items for council’s top priorities and will hopefully have a report at next meeting. However the Great Bend City Council Cares Messages and campaign have officially started.
• Working with the Cemetery staff to get the word out in regards to Fall Flowers needing picked up and off graves by Monday. Staff wants to start Spring Cleanup and Christina is helping spread the word so that more of the public gets the information. For more questions contact Michelle Davis at 620-793-4167.
• Run the Runway early bird registration is due on March 13th, teams or individuals can sign up to help fund the 2015 Great Bend Airfest. Run the Runway 2 is set for at 7 p.m. March 27, registration starts at 6:15 p.m.
• On Feb. 19 and 20, police chief candidate Cliff Couch was in the community to attend two meet and greets, tour the community, meet with department heads and police department personnel, and have a final interview.
• Human Resource Director Terry Hoff, Park Supervisor Scott Keeler and City Administrator Howard Partington interviewed two people who submitted proposals to run the concession stand at the Great Bend Sports Complex. The council will likely decide on a vendor at its next meeting.
• Gary Parr of Parr Sound met with City Attorney Bob Suelter, Partington. They discussed ways to work together to improve the usage of the event/civic center in the future. It has been suggested that the name be changed from convention center to either event or civic center. Either name would work better with some of the ideas for future usage.
• Hoff, Cemetery Supervisor Tim Wornkey and Partington will met with the Cemetery Board Thursday afternoon to tell them about short term improvements to the new cemetery and the development of a five-year plan for improvements.
The fourth-annual Great Bend Farm and Ranch Expo is set for April 8-10 at the Great Bend Expo Complex, but the real news is that the show will be in Great Bend at least another five years.
In her report to the City Council Monday night, Great Bend Chamber of Commerce President Jan Peters said the chamber had just inked a deal with expo promoter Darren Dale to keep the event through 2019.
“This is one of his most successful shows,” Peters said. This is in large part due to the quality of the volunteers and the facilities.
Dale is the manager of Star Enterprises which also manages farm shows in McCook, Neb., and Wichita Falls, Texas.
In other business Monday night, the City Council:
• Heard the annual report from Kansas Wetlands Education Center Site Manager Curtis Wolf. According to information he provided, after three years of extreme drought conditions from 2011-2013,2014 was a year for rebound for the KWEC Relatively consistent water levels in Cheyenne Bottoms produced one of the more” normal” years in terms of the attendance at the KWEC Total contacts increased by almost 2,500 visitors (23,000 visitors total) this year compared to 2013.
In the center’s five years, 23,000 seems to be about the average.
On-site and outreach programming continued to be a strength for the center, and we offered an all-time high number of programs in 2014 (598 total programs - 283 on-site, 315 outreach), with nearly 13,000 participants. Several annual events continued in 2014 (and most grew in offerings and attendance), including the Winter and Summer kids program series, the third biennial Great Migration Rally, the 2nd Wild Goose Chase 5k/3k, fourth-annual Butterfly Festival, and the second-annual hunter appreciation breakfast (they fixed enough biscuits and gravy for over 100 people and ran out of food).
The KWEC worked closely with area communities by hosting chamber coffees and providing programs and/or booths at Great Bend’s June Jaunt and Earth Day events, Ellinwood’s After Harvest Festival and Bike Across Kansas events, and Barton CC’s Jack Kilby Science Day. The KWEC also promoted the Center and the area at several trade shows, including the Kansas Sampler Festival, Great Bend’s Taste of Home show, Discover Salina Naturally, GPNC’s Walk With Wildlife, and Ark River Water Festival.
• Adopted an ordinance to allow consumption of cereal malt beverage and alcohol at the Great Bend Zoo. While this ordinance allows for the cereal malt beverage and alcohol to be consumed in the zoo, it does require that it is only allowed with consent of the council, City Attorney Bob Suelter said.
• Authorized Mayor Mike Allison to sign an agreement with Wheatland Electric Cooperative Ind. for Installation of Electric Services for Phase I of the Amber Meadows Rural Housing Insentive District. Wheatland will provide electrical infrastructure and services to the new homes being developed in the Amber Meadows Subdivision. The city will pay a refundable deposit of $64,823.82 (or $3,411.78 per lot) that will incrementally be refunded to the city as the new homes are brought online, said City Engineer Rob Winiecke.