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Protecting the past
Commission OKs paying for Historical Society roof leak repairs
new deh county commission historical society pic web
Barton County Historical Society Museum and Village is located south of Great Bend. - photo by DALE HOGG Great Bend Tribune

Here’s a quick look at what the Barton County Commission did Monday morning:

• Approved helping the Barton County Historical Society with financial assistance for a $12,800 reroofing project. 

• Approved a contract with Starbrite Window Cleaning, Great Bend, for janitorial services at the Barton County Office Building, 1806 12th, Great Bend. The county accepted bids for cleaning at the building. Under the proposal, the bidder generally cleans the building after 5 p.m. each work day, Operations Director Phil Hathcock said. The only bidder was Starbrite.

• Approved the purchase of higher resolution aerial imagery of the entire county as part of the State of Kansas contract for updated Next Generation 911 imagery. At a cost of $28,500, the cities in Barton County would reimburse the county $14,249.62.

The images are used extensively by the county and cities for appraisals, road and bridge work, and utility work.

• Ratified an $18,000 bill to Venture Corporation for placing a one-inch overlay over a county-applied strip patch on SW 50 Road. The patch used asphalt produced by the county, but it had too much moisture and was extremely rough.

Venture was contacted and applied the overlay. But, Venture’s asphalt plant was shutting down for the winter and action had to be taken quickly.

This means it was done prior to commission approval and had to be ratified Tuesday.

• Tabled voting on a contract for a county counselor until all five commissioners were present (Alicia Straub was absent Monday morning). There were two bids, one from current County Counselor Carey Hipp and one from Great Bend attorney Allen Glednenning.

 Recognizing how important the Barton County Historical Society is to preserving the county’s heritage, the County Commission Monday morning approved helping the society with the cost of a leaky roof that threatened valuable artifacts.

The county will pay $12,800 for the reroofing project. Steel Builders Construction Inc. of Great Bend will place the new 26-gauge galvalume on a 40x64-foot roof on one of the BCHS’s display buildings.  

“They have an urgent need at the historical society,” said Operations Director Phil Hathcock. Society board member Paul Maneth met with commissioners last week during their study session.

“They get by on a shoestring,” Commissioner Homer Kruckenberg said. “I think we need to do anything we can to help them.”

“They have quite a fine place there,” Commissioner Kenny Schremmer said. “I think we should take care of them.”

Although this request is outside the budget cycle, the society is the repository of many important, historical items, commission Chairwoman Jennifer Schartz said. It also operates frugally, relying mostly on volunteers and Schartz didn’t think the commission could say no.

The Barton County Historical Society Museum and Village is located  on five acres, just south of Great Bend on US Highway 281 (south of the Arkansas River Bridge). It includes several period buildings: an 1873 native stone house, an 1898 church, a 1910 railroad depot, a 1915 school house, and a small post office, all furnished. 

The main Museum and other buildings allow a peek into rural community life. There is also a 1950 Lustron Home.

The facility sits outside the Great Bend city limits, but Commissioner Don Davis said it also benefits the city. Perhaps, he said, the city should pay to help support it.