Surprise, the Icy Sidewalk Sale was icy
BY DALE HOGG
The report on the Great Bend Police Department remodeling was part of City Administrator Howard Partington’s departmental update presented at the City Council meeting Monday night. Other highlights included:
• The Icy Sidewalk Sale was this past Saturday and it was the first year in the six years of the event that there were actual icy sidewalks by the end of the day.
Community Coordinator Christina Hayes said participating businesses saw a 40-60 percent drop in sales due to the weather. In response, she said many stores are extending their sale specials through this weekend.
• The city, stores, and schools are partnering up in February with the Kansas Wetlands Education Center for the Wetlands coloring contest again. For the first two years of this program, KWEC was nationally recognized for the community tie-in to help educate not only the students who participate, but the stores and shoppers as well.
• Hayes said they are currently planning for the sixth-annual June Jaunt Festival. Any local residents interested in performing on stage during the day as part of the live music should contact Hayes for more details at 620-793-4111.
Hayes will meet with the five participating communities this week to determine details of the regional aspect of this year’s event.
• Officers worked throughout the weekend responding to calls related to the weather.
• Chief Cliff Couch and Lt. Scott Harper attended the inauguration ceremony for local Barton County officials Monday, Jan. 2, in a show of support for the Great Bend Police Department’s criminal justice colleagues at the county. The department is committed to an ongoing relationship with the Sheriff’s Office and the County Attorney’s Office to help better address crime and safety issues in Great Bend.
• Couch met with the USD 428 Interim Superintendent. The Department and the school district remain committed to working together to make sure that the children in our community stay safe.
• With the start of the new budget year, the department administration is working on outfitting replacement patrol vehicles. The department is changing the way it purchases and outfits vehicles in order to better utilize allotted money. The new DARE vehicle will be the first vehicle completed and the Department will make it available for the public and the council to view after a council meeting in the future.
• Chief Napolitano is preparing for the annual Township Board Meeting on Jan. 27. The board members will sign the annual contacts and Napolitano will bring them to the next council meeting for approval.
• Code Enforcement (December 2016 and January 2017)
– 33 open cases
– 58 follow-ups on existing cases
– Three structures were brought into compliance
– One warehouse was demolished
• All divisions prepared for the winter storm that affected our area Friday evening through Monday morning.
• De-Icing throughout the storm as needed and clearing roadways of fallen tree branches. (Work will continue as needed)
• Building a concrete pre-cast storm box that will be used to replace the deteriorated curb storm catch basin north of 19th on Morton street east side.
• Replaced the sewage pump station located at 24th and White Sands.
• Replaced damaged barricades at the dead end of Seventh Street on Heizer.
Great Bend Police Chief Cliff Couch and City Administrator Howard Partington have met several times in the last several weeks to discuss options for the Police Department’s building needs. The conclusion – there are no easy answers.
“It’s a tough task,” Partington told the City Council Monday night. “It isn’t easily solved.
Included was a conference call with the city’s on-call engineering firm Professional Engineering Consultants of Wichita and an architect who worked on the Police Department Building Engineering Assessment.
This effort involves remodeling the 90-year-old building to bring it up to date and make better use of the space. PBA conducted the $14,000 assessment on Oct. 21 after the council voted on Sept. 19 to proceed with plans on how to best way to renovate the facility.
As for these most recent meetings, Partington said they will eventually bring options before the council.
It was during the city’s budget-planning time that the need arose for more efficient space for police activities. The assessment will give a better idea of what currently exists with respect to structural, mechanical, plumbing and electrical issues.
Apparently, the edifice was built in 1928 as part of the City Auditorium. At the time, the front portion that houses the Police Department also held the City Office and Fire Department.
There is a reoccurring sewer smell that has baffled plumbers and other plumbing issues, problems with the heating an air conditioning and outdated electrical systems, Couch said earlier. Compounding this is the space itself. Years of remodeling have created a patchwork layout with wasted and unusable spaces.