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Learning trail coming to zoo
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Hearing set for apartment tax credits


The Great Bend City Council Monday night approved a resolution setting Aug. 18 as the date for a public hearing on the rural housing incentive district for the Reserves at Trail Ridge apartment complex on the west side of Grant Street across from Wal-Mart. In addition, the council OKed a rough draft development plan for the RHID.
The action was taken at the request of Matt Gillam, vice president of development for Leawood-based Overland Property Group, the firm developing the facility. He is hoping to see the project proceed quickly.
“This is an extremely good project,” City Administrator Howard Partington said.
In May, the 48-unit apartment facility was awarded tax credits by Kansas Housing Resources Corporation. The $7-8 million complex are considered income-qualified housing.
 The developers anticipate construction on Phase 1 of the two-phase project to begin in September with the first units coming available in mid May of 2015.
An RHID is a Kansas Department of Commerce program designed to aid developers by assisting in the financing through tax credits. RHIDs are available for any small- to medium-sized city in Kansas.

The United Way of Central Kansas and Barton County Young Professionals are joining forces to establish a Born Learning Trail at the Great Bend Zoo. The project was given the blessing of the Great Bend City Council Monday night.
A Born Learning Trail is an interactive, playful and visible community engagement tool, BCYP member Brandon Steinert said. It captures 10 fun outdoor games on an engaging signs and painted displays on the sidewalk to help create learning opportunities for a children ages 2-5.
This trail will be installed along a path at the zoo, Steinert said. Zoo Director Scott Gregory has already given his support.
“Each station is different and fun,” said YP member Desi Marmie. Among the interactive activities are such things as hop scotch, shape identification, clapping, singing and others.
Using money from the Thelma Faye Harms Trust, the United Way and BCYP will pay for the trail supply kit, maintain it in the future and pay for the poles and paint, Marmie said. In return, they needed council approval and help from zoo personnel to install the signs.
Volunteers will gather at 9:30 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 2, for the installation. A unveiling and ribbon cutting is scheduled from 5:30-6:30 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 7, and free pop sickles will be given away.
The United Way has already been approved to install a learning trail in Claflin this summer.
In other business Monday night, the city council:
• Approved a pawnbrokers license for Gunslinger Mercantile, 2407 10th.
• Approved a request to hook up to city water lines from Allied Oil and Gas Services on north U.S. 281. The cost would be $1,100 to install a one-inch water meter, a cost the company would pay. At a previous meeting, the council approved allowing Allied to connect to the city’s sewer line, and again, the company is picking up the cost.
• Approved splitting the cost to keep at least one lane of the 10th Street bridge west of Great Bend open during the upcoming repair project. The cost will be split 50-50 with Barton County. The total cost is $41,000. 
• Heard and economic development report from Great Bend Chamber of Commerce President Jan Peters.
• Approved abatements at: 819 Adams, owned by Tony Jones and Eula Faye Mosier, 1108 Morton, owned by Stueder Rentals, 1219 Madison, owned by Elizabeth Davidson, 1217 Madison, owned by Thomas Pearson, 1215 Madison, owned by Thomas Shorock and Melissa Doze, and 910 Main, owned by Neil and Elaine VonFeldt, all for accumulation of refuse; and at 1301 Coolidge, owned by Brett Ochs and 1615 Jefferson, owned by Jessica Wittig, all for motor vehicle nuisances.
David Walter of Walter Family Enterprises and his son Kyle were present. They requested a hearing for a proposed abatement at 833 10th, which includes three lots that made up what once was the Dixon Trailer Park.
This abatement was tabled until October and the Walters were given 90 days to get the property in compliance. This means that at least all the old waste from the trailer demolition has to be removed.