It may only be mid November, but a blizzard is coming to Great Bend.
Great Bend Chamber of Commerce President Jan Peters announced to the City Council Monday night that one of the business prospects she’s been courting for months has chosen Great Bend as its business home. Blizzard Energy of Santa Maria, Calif., will begin operations here early next year at the Great Bend Municipal Airport.
“I can’t tell you how hard we’ve worked on this project,” Peters said. “It’s great to have them here.”
In a nutshell, Blizzard Energy is a tire recycling business, said Valentin Alexandrov, the company’s chief executive officer. The old tires are shredded and melted in totally enclosed ovens.
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. “We take the tires back to where they came from,” Alexandrov said.
“We are 98 percent green,” he said. “There is very little smoke.”
To start with, Blizzard will employ 25 people and make a $5 million investment. With millions of tons of old tires in the United States, there is also a chance for expansion.
“We were very welcomed,” Alexandrov said. “We were treated like relatives.”
“We were not the only players,” Peters said. The company also looked at sites in Colorado, Nevada and Idaho, but picked Great Bend because of the people.
Blizzard officials also like that Kansas was very business friendly.
Often, Peters said, recruiting a new business is all about relationships. Her relationship with a Ness City tire-shredding firm led to this opportunity.
The Ness City company contacted Peters about Blizzard and it went from there.
The lease and other paperwork should be finalized by mid December. The machinery will arrive from Russia in late January and, after licensing from the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, it will be up and running.
In other business, the council:
• Approved abating properties at: 1601 Holland, owned by Edmund Martinez, for accumulation of refuse (AOR); 425 Plum, owned by Higino Payan, for AOR; 1811 Stone, owned by Joseph Farris, for AOR; 214 Heizer, owned by B ernabe and Anna Leyva, for AOR; 1705 Stone, owned by Joseph Farris, for AOR and motor vehicle nuisance (MVN); 1407 Ninth, owned by HeyDay Sueno Properties, for MVN; 2201 27th, owned by April Williams, for MVN; 1415 Morton, owned by Brian and Kristen Lingle, for MVN; and 300 Chestnut, owned by Dale Magee, for MVN.
• Voted to terminate an agreement Aqua Prose for aquarium service at Great Bend’s Brit Spaugh Zoo effective at the end of 2012. Zoo Director Scott Gregory will take over the responsibilities of maintain the aquariums, saving the city $15,000 per year.
• Approved a residential street resurfacing change order. The work for this project was completed during the month of October. The original project costs were $486,880.80. At the time the bids were being considered for approval (July ’12), it was mentioned that the Engineering Department was looking at adding a couple of additional blocks to the project. Due to favorable bidding, one additional block was selected and added to the project, the section of Fruit Street between Second and Third streets. The total costs for the project including the additional work for completing this project is $503,403.30. This represents an increase in the overall project costs of $16,522.50. This additional project cost account for the following quantities: 897 square yards asphalt mill & overlay, 12.2 square yards asphalt concrete patching, 113.50 liner feet concrete curb and gutter, 23.3 square yards concrete valley gutter, and 2.4 square yards concrete sidewalk.
• Approved the low bid from Suchy Construction for $12,688 for the ADA accessible ramps at 21st and Harrison streets.
• Approved a motion granting the conditional-use permit for Erika Jo Julian for a 24-hour home day care at 1416 Broadway. After a public hearing at its meeting, the Planning Commission had recommended approval of the permit, however there was considerable vocal opposition from some neighborhood residents Monday night who said they feared the day care would cause traffic congestion, noise and lower property values.
Julian is currently operating the day care, but has to live there. The permit allows her to move back to her home with her husband and kids when she is not working at the facility.
• Heard a report from Sunflower Rod and Custom Association Great Bend President Hank Denning on the drag strip’s past year and what the plans are for the future.
• Heard an update on city department activities from City Administrator Howard Partington.