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Land agreement may be a Kansas first
Amber Meadows project takes leap forward
new deh city council awards pic
The Great Bend City Council Monday night honored several city employees for their years of service to with the 2014 City Service Awards presented to those who have been employed for 10 or 25 years. Pictured with Mayor Mike Allison are: 10-year honoree Travis Parmley, Fire Department, fire captain; and 25-year honorees Donald Mitchell, Water Pollution Control Department, operator II, Mark Orth, Inspection Department, fire inspector, and Scott Harper, Police Department, police lieutenant. Not pictured are: 10-year award recipients Jason Cauley, Street Department, operator I, Douglas Prosser, Fire Department, fire captain, and Eric Yoder, Fire Department, fire captain; and 25-year honoree William Browne, Police Department, police lieutenant. - photo by DALE HOGG Great Bend Tribune

In other business Monday night, the Great Bend City Council:
• Heard a report from Community Coordinator Christina Hayes. She said there are a lot of activities planned for this Saturday in advance of Halloween, including the children’s parade and Zoo Boo. She also noted November will be hopping with Explore Great Bend activities.
 • Approved a request to  Forest Avenue from Stone Street to Williams Street from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 31, for a Halloween Trunk or Treat. This was done at the request of the Rev. Matt Aycock of the First United Methodist Church.
 A Trunk-or-Treat involves a group of people coming together to a parking lot or street, festively decorating their cars, and handing out candy or other treats from the trunks in lieu of having the children going from house to house.
 • Approved an abatement 408 Locust St., owned by Miguel Angel Mata Gamez, for  accumulation of refuse
• Rejected a bid from Nowak Construction in the amount of $629,109 for the 10th Street water main replacement. The bid was over double City Engineer Rob Winiecke’s estimate of $292,055. Winiecke said this was the second time the project was bid out, but there were no takers the first time back in June. Norwak was the only bidder for the project this time. 
Winiecke said he would tweak the project and perhaps package it with the planned resurfacing of 10th in that area in hopes of garnering some interest. The water work has to be done for the other work can start to avoid ripping up a new street.

It’s a new idea that may become the model for housing developments in Kansas, Great Bend City Administrator Howard Partington told the City Council Monday night.
He was referring to a land purchase agreement with Ross Vogel, of Kansas City-based Rural Housing Partners to construct eight single-family homes in Amber Meadows. The council approved the deal.
“This is different. We haven’t done this before,” Partington said. The city’s bond attorneys who helped prepare the documentation said it may be the first of its kind in the state.
Here’s how it works. Vogel puts down a $10,000 deposit on each lot which is returned if the house gets built.
These houses would fall under the recently created Rural Housing Incentive District. So, a portion of the property taxes paid by the homeowners would come back to the city over 15 years, allowing the city to recoup its expenses and pay for improvements to the infrastructure in the addition.
This allows the homeowners to avoid paying “specials” on their taxes to cover such costs. “This is a really good deal,” Partington said.
Of course, the homes have to be built for the city to its money back, he said.
Vogel is purchasing eight lots which leaves 11 lots. This program is open to anyone who is willing to meet the guidelines and restrictive covenants governing the development, Partington said.
A one-story home can be no more than 1,200 square feet, and a two-story home must be no more than 1,000 square feet on the main floor and cannot exceed 1,800 square feet overall.
The developer will have 90 days from closing on the deal to acquire building permits and a year to have the houses completed. They cannot be used as rental property for 10 years.
The homes will range in price from $150,000 to $225,000. Partington said these will be nice houses, but not fancy.