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Talks continue on proposed HOI development
City Council concerned about impact on city sewer system
cambridge park pic
Shown is a few from the Second Street area looking north towards Eighth and Grant. The area east of University of Kansas Health Systems Great Bend Campus and south of Walmart is the proposed site of Housing Opportunities Inc. Cambridge Park project. - photo by DALE HOGG Great Bend Tribune

The Great Bend City Council Monday night heard on Housing Opportunities Inc.’s planned Cambridge Park development east of University of Kansas Health Systems Great Bend Campus and south of Walmart. The council had called a work session to discuss the project, which sits outside city limits, and concerns over HOI’s request to connect to the city’s sanitary sewer.

At issue was a sewer lift station in the area and if it could handle the additional load created by the new addition, said City Administrator Kendal Francis. It was noted that a monitoring system at a cost of $8,000 was needed to get a picture of its capacity.

The station covers most of the western portion of Great Bend and is already heavily utilized.

There was some heated discussion with HOI officials wondering why this wasn’t brought up earlier and council members doubting the need for the project.

Also addressed during the session was whether or not the area should be annexed into the city. HOI officials have spoken with the Barton County Commission.

In addition, some on the council were reluctant to support a low-income housing project when a recent housing study showed the real need was for moderate- to higher-income housing.

In the end, it was agreed to revisit the matter when the city has a better idea of the lift station’s capability. There was also acknowledgement that there had been miscommunication going both ways. Addressing the council supporting the plan were HOI Executive Director Callie Miller and Shelby Zuniga, Sunflower Diversified Services interim executive director.

The 28-unit low-income Cambridge Park will be Phase 1 of a three- to four-phase projection for this property over the next 8-10 years. The construction was planned to begin soon. 

Cambridge Park is a project combining supportive services provided by Sunflower Diversified Services to allow the project to cater to their clientele. The vision of this project started in December 2018 with Vicky Dayton, the former executive director of HOI, and now retired Sunflower Executive Director Jon Prescott, collaborating on the lack of appropriate housing. 

However, after a period of time, should Sunflower clients not fill the Cambridge Park units, they will be open to the community at large as low-income apartments.

City officials noted the lift station monitors should probably be installed, regardless of Cambridge Park.

HOI and the project will add Grant Street from Sixth to Second streets, and will extend Sixth 150 feet east as a part of this phase. Additional streets will be added as the phases are completed.

The units will include one- and two-bedroom duplexes with one-car attached garages. The project will also include a functional community building for tenant use.

In additional, two single-room occupancy buildings will be comprised of eight units split into loft style units each with a kitchenette and a private bathroom. Common living spaces, laundry facilities, and full kitchens are also included on each side of the building to encourage a community shared living area. 

Office space will be included for SDS staff that connects both side of each building.

Last fall, HOI announced the recent award of Low-Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTC) and HOME Funds from Kansas Housing Resources Corporation the project. These combined housing awards total up to nearly $6 million. KHRC awarded 12 projects out of 27 applications received. 

HOI will be owner and the general contractor for Cambridge Park, as well as providing management and maintenance services when completed. HOI purchased the 24 acres from a group of local doctors, including Dr. Randall Hildebrand, Dr. Perry Smith, Dr. Jeff Brozek, and Dr. Leonard Fleske.

Since 1996, Housing Opportunities Inc. has been providing affordable housing offering single-family homes and duplex-style apartment units across Barton, Pawnee, Rice, and Scott counties.  They have developed 19 projects.

HOI is a Community Housing Development Organization (CHDO) in the state of Kansas, a private non-profit, community-based service organization that has a staff with the capacity to develop affordable housing for the communities it serves. 

There are 22 CHDO’s in Kansas with only 13 actively developing properties in the last five years. 


Great Bend City Council meeting at a glance

Here is a quick look at what the Great Bend City Council did Monday night:

• Approved a Nextlink communication tower conditional-use permit.

AMG Technology Investment Group, dba Nextlink, has applied for conditional use permit to allow for the installation of a new 120-foot communication tower. The property is zoned A (agricultural) which allows for communication towers as a conditional use, Building Official Logan Burns said.

The property is located in the three-mile radius of the City of Great Bend southwest of Walnut Creek, so zoning is determined by the city.

The Planning Commission endorsed the project at a June 27 public hearing. There was no opposition.

• Approved a conditional-use permit to operate a licensed group home daycare, The Learning Ladder, from Jessica Roan at 2206 McKinley.

• Approved a new agreement with the Golden Belt Humane Society.

The city’s contract with the Golden Belt Humane Society for animal control services has expired. The city has negotiated a new agreement that provides two significant changes.

First, it moves the automatic annual 5% price increase. Second, it provides a mechanism for issuing notices to appear for violations of Article 6 of City’s Code of Ordinances which covers such things as: Animal care; registration, licensing and tags; vaccinations; and penalties for violations.

This is an initial five-year agreement, which automatically switches to an annual agreement at the end of that time.

The funds the Humane Society for $105,000 in the 2023 budget.

• Approved the rebuilding of a 40 horse power wet well submersible pump.

The pump is primarily for emergency situations where an existing pump failure may occur, said Public Works Director Jason Cauley. JCI submitted a quote for $39,967. Cost estimate of a new pump would be approximately $100,000. 

• Heard a report from City Administrator Kendal Francis. He noted the bids had gone out for the new Police Station/Municipal Court Building.

• Heard a report from Community Coordinator Christina Hayes. She focused on Party in the Park coming Aug. 10

• Held two 20-minute executive sessions on matters of attorney-client privilege regarding pending litigation. There was no action when the commission reconvened in open session.

• Approved the sending of the city’s notice that it will exceed the Revenue Neutral Rate for its 2023 budget.

• Approved the Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) waiver for 2021.

Each year the city requests a waiver from the GAAP for the reporting of city’s financial statements and to allow the City to use the regulatory basis of accounting under the Kansas Municipal Audit and Accounting Guide, said City Clerk Shawna Schafer.

The KMAAG regulatory basis does not recognize capital assets, long-term debt, or accrued receivables and payables other than accounts payable and encumbrance obligations. This makes more sense for the city’s auditing purposes.

• Approved a tree trimmer licence for Trent Sallee of St. John.

• Approved abatements for trash and refuse violations at: 3108 18th, Peoples Bank and Trust; 1719 Morphy, Stueder Rentals LLC.; 3422 16th, Bert Jr. and Ida Marie Luse Revocable Trust; 1901 Madison, Moses Properties LLC.: 1919 Madison, Leroy J. Saindon; 2535 21st, Evan L. Keenan; 2910 18th, Moses Properties LLC.: and 1504 12th, Hammond Investments LLC.

• Held a work session on the Housing Opportunities Inc. Cambridge Park project.