Next Wednesday, the City will have 300-plus Great Bend High School students on city grounds doing community service work, Great Bend City Administrator Howard Partington said.
They will be taking part in the fourth-annual GBHS Community Day from 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Students and teachers will be scattered throughout Great Bend working on different projects that includes everything from painting, sorting and picking up trash throughout the community.
Partington said city projects include Great Bend Municipal Airport cleanup, stuffing visitor bag and goodie bags, Zoo cleanup, Stone and MacArthur lake cleanup, and work at the Expo Complex, Sports Complex, Veterans Memorial Park and Heizer Park. The students will also help with cleaning off all the old tape from garage sale signs put on poles on Broadway and 10th.
“The event is designed to help make the community better by everyone giving back,” Partington said. It is organized by GBHS Student Council.
This report was part of Partington’s departmental update to the City Council Monday night. Other highlights included:
• Made and installed updated signs for the Police Department.
• Finished work on new sidewalk, catch basins and ADA ramp at Broadway and Roosevelt.
• Sanitarian: 121 year to date complaints, 19 new complaints (six by citizens and 13 by staff), eight complaints completed by citizens, four abatement notices sent, and four vehicles brought into compliance.
• Battalion Chief Stettinger participated as an assessor in the promotional process for Sedgwick County Fire Department.
• Chief attended a disaster training exercise at Crisis City.
• City Inspector Lee Schneider is reviewing plans for a Donut Palace, which would be located on the northwest corner 10th and Odell.
• Code enforcement reports 15 follow ups so far for the month: 30 cases involving structures currently being worked on; two closed cases involving building code and or ordnance violations; and opened bids on April 8 for the demolition of 26 Hickory Street with the work to be completed in approximately 30 days.
• On April 6, Detective Heather Smith gave a career day type talk at the High School about the detective profession
• The Police Department continues to work with Juvenile Justice on a grant funded program that puts extra officers on the streets during key times, with the goal of addressing Barton County’s high level of juvenile issues.
• The Police Department was forced to cancel its Citizen’s Academy due to a lack of participants. They plan to try again, with additional recruiting efforts, in the fall.
• The Police Officer Trading Card program has been a great success, Partington said. “The children (and parents) in the community have really bought into it, so that officers are frequently flagged down to interact with kids, and there is a steady flow of visitors in the Police Department lobby asking for cards.”
The Department has already given out several of the Gambino’s gift certificates to children who have brought in their completed collections, but there are still some gift certificates to give away.
• On April 8, the Police Department worked with the High School Administration to conduct a drug sweep. Laser was able to smell drugs inside a truck parked in front of the school. Officers obtained a search warrant and found a stash of various drugs inside the truck, which belonged to an 18 year old student at the High School.
The packaging and quantity of drugs located led the Department to believe that the man arrested was a major drug dealer at the high school. “Good job to (K-9s) Laser, Kia, and all of the other officers who participated in this operation, and thanks to the High School Administration for their commitment to work with us toward addressing these types of issues” Partington said.
• Convention and Visitors Bureau Director Emily Goad has reached out to other state CVBs and will start traveling to meet and share ideas with them.
• Goad also attended a South Central Kansas Tourism Region meeting in McPherson, where several members expressed their excitement of having Great Bend as part of the team.
• The Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference Baseball and Softball Tournament, Art & Wine Walk and Kansas Sampler Festival are only weeks away, making for a busy season for Goad and Community Coordinator Christina Hayes.
• Mayor Mike Allison, Councilmember Allene Owen, Councilmember Vicki Berryman and City Administrator Partington attended the Western Kansas Congressional Staff Briefing and Reception in Washington D.C. last week.
• Mechanical engineer Shaun Conway with Professional Engineering Consultants of Wichita was here last week to review the mechanical systems at the Events Center Office Building. “His comments and observations were very insightful and we await his written report in a few weeks,” Partington said.
PEC is the firm contracted with by the city as an on-call engineer in lieu of hiring a full-time city engineer.