BY DALE HOGG
The City of Great Bend is getting ready for Memorial Day and the summer months, it was announced at the City Council meeting Monday night.
In his update on the recent activities of various department, City Administrator Howard Partington said the Great Bend Municipal Cemetery will be open for people to decorate on Thursday. Preparations are being finalized and all mowing and trimming will be completed prior to that date.
In addition, he said new trees were planted around the Veteran’s Memorial Circle by the Parks Department. The Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 3111 will conduct the annual Memorial Day ceremony on Monday at the site, and bleachers will be moved to the area for guests to use.
In an other sign of the warmer times, the Wetlands at Great Bend is on schedule to open on Saturday, Partington said. This marks the ninth season for the water park, and the city will employ approximately 40 young people for the summer months.
Other report highlights included:
• Assisted with the following April/May events: Walk-A-Mile in Her Shoes benefiting the Family Crisis Center; Cinco de Mayo celebration; Sunflower Rod and Custom Association drag races, national open race and Lucas Oil race; Mid-America MoPar Car Show; and Relay for Life fundraiser at the dog park.
• Scott Keeler, Pat Hastings, Steve Root and Jacob Milsap provided assistance at the new sports complex when Great Bend hosted the Kansas State High School Activities Association Regional 5A baseball and softball tournaments on May 14. The tournament was well attended and hosted eight teams that participated. Partington said the city received numerous compliments on the complex and the playing conditions.
• Human Resource Director Terry Hoff and Keeler attended a presentation at the Great Bend Recreation Commission on May 13. The Recreation Commission recently received the Blue Chip Award from the Kansas Recreation and Park Association and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Kansas. This award recognized Great Bend and Barton County for its efforts in promoting and providing healthy initiatives for our citizens. The $2,500 award was shared with four partners, including the City of Great Bend. The city was given a plaque and a check for $500 by the Recreation Commission. Great Bend was one of four communities across the state to receive this award.
• The Street Department: Replaced gate on the levee at the southeast corner of the South Main Street bridge and repaired fence at that location, repaired fence at northeast corner at that location and set up portable stop signs due to power outage on May 8.
• The Water Department : Repaired Service line to Arby’s Restaurant, is in the process of painting Street Scape light poles downtown, with 26 being done so far. Worked power outage on May 8.
• Sanitarian: 648 year to date complaints, 109 new complaints ( 29 from citizen complaints and 80 by staff ), 69 complaints completed by citizens, 24 abatement notices sent, four abatements performed and 21 vehicles brought into compliance.
• City Inspector Lee Schneider conducted final inspections on Sutherland, Family Dollar and Papa John’s Pizza.
• The Kansas Board of Emergency Medical Services conducted an inspection of the city’s ambulances, protocols, and operation policies, along with our EMS training records. There was one deficiency that was corrected while the inspector was on site.
• The department hosted tours for several elementary schools this last week.
• Permanent striping along Kansas Avenue was completed on May 10.
• L&M Contractors began working on the walking path improvements at Veterans Memorial Park Monday.
• Community Coordinator Christina Hayes said she’s finalizing June Jaunt activities, getting sponsors and promoting the various events that will be taking place in Great Bend May 31 to June 2. She is working with Jennifer Klepper from Beautiful Beginnings to decorate the Zarah Mall windows at Main and Lakin to feature different June Jaunt activities.
• The City of Great Bend and Great Bend Recreation Commission have been continuing to work with New Boston Creative Group to create a Marketing Plan for the Sports Complex. The report is about half done and new developments with the Kansas State High School Activities Association and Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference have needed immediate action. Partington said the committee is excited to take action on what’s happening with the plan.
• The city is working with a number of partners to help create a financial literacy class that could be available to businesses, groups and citizens. More details will be announced later.
• Partington met with Roger Edgar of George K. Baum & Company. Edgar has suggested that it is a good time to refinance some of the city’s bonded debt. Together with Joe Norton of Gilmore & Bell they will be prepared at the next meeting to go into detail. He said this could save a significant amount of money over the next 10 years.
• May 9 – America’s Promise closing ceremony.
• May 11 – EEA Chapter 1134 Fly Day for D.A.R.E. essay winners & America’s Promise students.
• May 13 – Susie Guenther attended the CAPE meeting at GB Middle School.
• May 14 – I Make a Difference May party winner-Riley School.
• May 16 – Officer Jefferson Davis completed Youth Academy presentations at GB Middle School.
• May 17 – Firearms qualifications training.