It was back in November of 2012 that Great Bend Chamber of Commerce President Jan Peters introduced Blizzard Energy to the Great Bend City Council. Since then, it’s been a long road for the tire recycling business to establish a state-of-the-art facility, which is still not up and running.
Blizzard Energy came up as part of City Administrator Howard Partington’s departmental update during the Monday night council meeting. The Public Works Department has done some dirt work on the west side of the company building located on the Great Bend Municipal Airport grounds.
This sparked a broader discussion about Blizzard’s progress. In the intervening year and a half, the council has approved several matters relating to the firm.
“They’ve done an amazing amount of work,” Partington said of Blizzard. “A lot has been done and that makes us feel a lot better.”
Partington said he and Mayor Mike Allison has recently met with Blizzard officials.
At first, getting all the necessary permits from the Kansas Department of Health and Environment took time, but those are now all in place. Some of the Russian-made equipment was sub-standard, a problem that is being rectified.
Blizzard owner Franziska Shepard wanted to make sure that the process worked properly and she has spent considerable time and money to make sure the process is safe and efficient, Peters said Monday night. But, there were difficulties with some of the employees not fully understanding all that it took to make the process work.
The also have changed engineers and now have one who is knowledgeable about the process and equipment. “They have the right people on the bus,” Peters said.
“They want this to be a show piece,” Peters said. The company wants this to be a world-wide pilot project.
In a nutshell, the Blizzard Energy of Santa Maria, Calif., company will take old tires and shred and melted them. The by-products of this process are gas (which will be used to heat the facility), oil (which can be refined to off-road diesel fuel), carbon black (which is used as filler in rubber products and many modern plastics), and the steel from the steel belts.
Other topics of Partington’s update included:
• Cleaned walking path on levee (from south Washington west to 56 Bridge) of stickers and weeds
• Patched roads at Airport
• Dirt work on West side of Blizzard Energy building
• Worked in the Zoo
• Painted cross walks around schools
• Helped with Party in the Park.
• Sediment samples from Vet’s Lake.
• Installed new water/sewer service to HAZ-Mat Response on West 10th Street and a new service to Allied Oil and Gas on North U.S. 281.
• Sanitarian: 787 year to date complaints, 55 new complaints (10 by citizens, 45 by staff), 68 complaints completed by citizens, six abatement notices sent, 10 abatements performed and 17 vehicles into compliance (236 total vehicles to date).
• Burn Building is complete and had a successful test burn.
• New ambulance was put in service on Friday.
• Three paramedic students from Barton Community College are doing their field internship with the fire department.
• Lee and Mike are reviewing the Property Maintenance Code.
• Lee issued Certificates of Occupancy for AT&T (in the former Block Buster Movie store) and Central National Bank in Wal-Mart.
• Helped at Party in the Park.
• Community Coordinator Christina Hayes has recently hired two new youth coordinator helpers, Sarah Niederee and Rebecca Dawson. Her two previous helpers have left – Sara McAfee left for school at Kansas State University, and Emily Goad who was her Intern last summer took a job in Wichita. Goad continues to come back to help with events and “all four girls helped and did a great job assisting with the big event this past Saturday,” Hayes said, referring to Party in the Park.
• The August movie night was this past Thursday night and the movie shown was “All Dogs Go to Heaven” amd there was a good turnout. The last movie will be shown on Sept. 5 and the movie will be “The Goonies.”
• A successful team-building work session was held last Friday. We ran out of time way before we could go over everything.