In other businesses Monday morning, the Barton County Commission:
• Learned that the Barton County Health Department was approved to receive a $24,624 grant from the Hutchinson-based Sunflower Foundation to purchase a digital sign. The sign will be located outside the Health Department, at the corner of Lakin and Kansas.
Marks Signs of Great Bend will be awarded the bid for the work.
Earlier this year, Health Director Lily Akings said her department had applied for funding through the foundation. A 10 percent match of $2,736 is required. The match be paid from the State Formula grant, so the cost to the county is zero.
The sign will be capable of displaying scrolling messages as well as digital pictures and graphics. Akings said it will not only be available for her department, but for other county departments as well.
As for cost, the electricity to power the sign could cost around $10 per month, but there are ways of shutting it down in the evenings to save energy. There is also an optional $399-per-year service agreement available.
The current sign has been in place for about 15 years and is showing its age, Akings said. The new sign will be retrofitted into the current sign frame.
• Approved renewing the County’s membership in the National Association of Counties for $554. County Administrator Richred Boeckman said NACo is the only national organization that represents county governments in the United States. One of the key benefits is the NACO Prescription Card Program which has saved Barton County residents over $8,000 since the program started a few years ago.
Founded in 1935, NACo provides essential services to the nation’s 3,068 counties, advancing issues with a unified voice before the federal government, improving the public’s understanding of county government, assisting counties in finding and sharing innovative solutions through education and research and providing value-added services to save counties and taxpayers money. Other benefits include webinars and publications
• Approved submitting a bridge 2.7 miles east of Great Bend as part of the Kansas Department of Transportation Off-System Bridge Program.
This grant is an 80-20-percent match, said County Administrator Richard Boeckman said. For this project, the state would pay $396,000 and the county $79,000. However, after the state pays the county back for engineering services, the total local cost would be around $40,000.
The technique to be used for this bridge is a new one and this would be the first of its type in Kansas.
Federal law requires that not less than 15 percent of a State’s Highway Bridge Program funds be used for replacement or rehabilitation of eligible bridges located on roads that are not on the federal-aid system. Just some of the qualifications to be eligible for the program include having a current inspection report and being classified as deficient or functionally obsolete, Boeckman said.
• Approved a KDOT High Risk Rural Roads Program grant application. KDOT has approved a project application for the HRRR, Signage, Phase II. Planned work under the grant includes the replacement of regulatory and warning signage along designated county road corridors in the northeast and northwest party of the county, north of Claflin. The 100 percent grant, awarded at $105,500, requires no match, Boeckman said.
County Engineer Clark Rusco also prepared a grant application for $140,000 for Phase III signage, preliminary engineering and construction engineering, and the commission OKed this as well. If this is approved by KDOT, work under this grant would include the continuation of upgrading signage on most county roads south of Great Bend. It, too, would provide 100 percent of the project cost.
The new signs will have more reflectivity and otherwise be easier to see. The changes are mandated by the feds, and the state grants just pave the way to get the work paid for without spending local tax money.
It’s been a long time coming, but the Barton County Commission Monday morning learned the dedication for the much-anticipated Golden Belt Veterans Memorial has been set. The ceremony will take place at 2 p.m. Sunday, May 25, the day before Memorial Day.
“We have some wonderful people here in Barton County,” Commission Chairman Kenny Schremmer said. “They are willing to get behind each other.”
News of the dedication came during a meeting dominated by the on-going memorial project. Christy Tustin, Golden Belt Community Foundation, acting on behalf of the Larry and Kathy Schugart Donor Advised Fund, presented a $500 grant for the project, Stan Jantz, representing the Sons of the American Legion, presented plaques recognizing the county for establishing the memorial and displaying the American flag, and Paige Lofland, representing the county’s Memorial Park Committee, presented the Army flag to fly at the site.
Mick Lang, chairman of the county’s Memorial Parks Committee which has overseen the work, said the stones that will bear the names of the veterans have been installed and the flag poles will be erected in the near future. The concrete slab that will serve as the base was poured a couple weeks ago.
“It is beautiful,” Lang said.
In another memorial-related matter, the Commission approved a change in the county-maintained memorial park regulations regarding the tribute. The change deals with the collection of funds for engraving veterans’ names on the two stones.
Prior to the work commencing, the county will need to collect enough money for 1,080 entries. If that level is not reached, the monies collected will be returned to purchasers.
There is a cost $45 per a 21-character line. Qualifications for inclusion on the memorial are proof that the veteran was at least at one time a Barton County residency and an honorable discharge from the military. Persons contributing $500 or more to the project would receive two lines in appreciation for their donation.
To be included, the veteran can be living or deceased.
When completed, the memorial will feature representations of each branch of the military, including Army, Air Force, Coast Guard, Marines, Navy and Merchant Marines (who received veterans status for the years 1942-46). A gray granite marker will contain emblems for each along with the inscription “A nation that forgets its defenders will itself be forgotten. This is but a small tribute to all the veterans whose names are forever etched on these tablets. We are eternally grateful for their service to this nation. All gave some, some gave all.”
The committee will accept the contribution of Barton County veterans’ names. These will be carved into the tablets that flank the center stone. There will also be flags representing the branches of service.
Local sculpture Chet Cale designed and built the monument.