In other business Monday morning, the Barton County Commission:
• Heard an update on the annual tax sale that was held on Oct. 14. At the time of the sale, two parcels remained. County Treasurer Kevin Wondra said both sold and the county collected $447, plus $16 in filing fees. Sheriff Brian Bellendir handled the bidding and there were about 10 bidders taking part, Wondra said.
• Approved the appointment of Dan Esfeld to the Memorial Park Advisory Committee for an uncompensated term that ends in July 2018. The committee is charged with advising and assisting the Commission regarding the care and maintenance of the Barton County Owned and Operated Memorial Parks and Cemetery. With not less than five, nor more than seven members, there is one position remaining open.
• Approved appointing Commissioner Homer Kruckenberg to Great Plains Development. GPD assists the county, and its cities, with Small Business Administration loan applications, community development block grant writing and economic development revolving loans. As a Great Plains Development member, the county is eligible to appointment two people to the board. The other county representative is County Administrator Richard Boeckman.
• Barton County Commissioner Homer Kruckenberg took Barton County Attorney Doug Matthews to task for his failure to seek charges against the driver whose trailer came loose and killed Reno County couple in August.
“I don’t want to get into a fussing contest with the county attorney, but to me this is embarrassing,” the commissioner said, referencing an article in the Hutchinson News that quoted Matthews. “It’s something that we need to address.”
In the story, Matthews is quoted as saying there “was not timetable” for the case. It also includes comments from family members distraught with the slow progress.
“It’s sad,” Kruckenberg said. “I want to get a piece of him.”
Reno County Jail Deputy Shawn Schellenger and his wife Danielle were riding motorcycles with family members on Aug. 16 when the freak accident claimed their lives in Great Bend.
The Cheyenne Bottoms scenic overlook project took another step forward Monday morning as the Barton County Commission approved hiring PBA Architects of Wichita to design the viewing tower at the site.
“This will be a fun project,” said Allan Milbrandt of PBA. The firm also worked with the city of Great Bend on the Jack Kilby Plaza.
Barton County was informed in July that the K-4 Cheyenne Bottoms Overlook Improvement Project grant had been approved for the full amount, $232,460, said Barton County Administrator Richard Boeckman. Specifically, the project includes building a handicap-accessible 10-foot-tall viewing tower.
The money comes from a Kansas Department of Transportation Transportation Alternatives Grant. The county joined forces with the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism in the application, and each will contribute 10 percent in matching funds.
The tower will look more like a serpentine ramp that will be over 150 feet long with a series of landings along the way. This is necessary to make it handicapped accessible, Milbrandt said.
There will also be landscaping utilizing native grasses and flowers. The idea is to make a functional showpiece, Milbrandt said.
The contract with PBA is for $33,050 and that includes all the design work. The firm also helped with the initial plan during the grant application process.
Down the road, there will be signs on K-4 marking the site. There may also be interpretive panels incorporated into the ramp telling the story of the bottoms.
The project, which also includes additional paved parking, could be completed by next spring.
This is the second phase of the overlook improvement effort. The first phase involved paving a parking area and improving handicap accessibility.
That was funded by another KDOT grant that was jointly applied for by the county and KDWPT. Both the county and KDWPT pitched in a 10 percent match for the $150,000 award.
“There are a number of positive things about this project,” Boeckman said. One of these is the strong partnership the county has formed with KDWPT.