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Vets Park bathrooms open all year
Improvements funded by quality of life sales tax
logan burns at meeting
Great Bend Interim City Administrator Logan Burns, left, gives his update to the City Council during its Tuesday night meeting. It was his first update since being named to the post after the resignation of former Administrator Kendal Francis who left for a position in Hutchinson. Also pictured is City Attorney Allen Glendenning. - photo by DALE HOGG Great Bend Tribune

Burns steps gives first administrative update

Tuesday night, Logan Burns gave his first-ever update to the Great Bend City Council as interim administrator. 

He was named to the post Dec. 19 to fill in as the search to replace Kendal Francis continues. Francis announced in early December he was leaving Great Bend to accept the city manager’s job in Hutchinson.

Police Chief Steve Haulmark was picked as his consultant.

Burns, who came to the city as the building inspector about three and a half years ago, had been hired as the assistant city administrator last November.

Also at the  Dec. 19 meeting, the council approved contracting with Strategic Government Resources of Keller, Texas, to handle the search for an administrator. The fee is $8,500, not to exceed $24,009.

More of the first projects to emerge from the .15% quality of life sales tax approved by Great Bend voters in November 2021 are coming to fruition, among them the automated bathroom locks at Veterans Memorial Park, Interim City Administrator Logan Burns told the City Council in his update Tuesday night.

“The automatic locks have been completed at the Vets Park bathrooms,” he said. “We’ve got some money left over for that so we’ll expand that into the Brit Spaugh bathrooms as well.”

The bathrooms at Vets are open from 8 a.m. to until around 5 p.m. right now just to make sure everything’s working. “We will adjust those times as spring and summer comes along.”

When finalized, the hours will run from 6-7 a.m. to 9-10 p.m. 

The facilities will also be open all year around. In the past, they have been closed in the winter months.

Next, Burns said the lights have been selected for the Vets Park walking trail. “So we’re looking at the availability on those lights, see if we can get those ordered,” he said.

And then the next projects they are looking at completing will be the lighting, a splash pad with the location yet to be determined, skate park repairs, dog park improvements (perhaps making separate areas for large and small dogs), and then the Brit Spaugh Park projects. 

The Brit Spaugh project (the development of the south end of Brit Spaugh) is a cooperative effort with the Great Bend Recreation Commission. This could involve outdoor basketball and pickleball courts, a playground, soccer field and restrooms.

Burns suggested the council set a work session at some point to discuss the logistics and planning. “There are several projects and I think it’s just a matter of getting together and see what we’re going to do.”


Last October, the council approved the quality of life plan funded by the sales tax. The included  projects are part of a 10-year quality of life capital improvement effort.

However, the council pulled out a handful of initiatives to be completed by or started by the end of last year. The items mentioned Tuesday night are among these.

Others included:

• Reviving the sidewalk improvement cost-share program, which has already been done.

• The fishing habitats (working with the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks)

• Additional Christmas lights with the goal of making this a “Christmas City.”

 Last spring, the 13-member City of Great Bend Quality of Life Committee was formed. The purpose of the group which met for about six months was to look at how to best spend funds generated by the .15% sales tax.

Then, last May, the group released a public survey. The purpose is to seek some feedback from citizens of all ages. 

The plan outlines the projects for the next decade, along with projected costs. Most of the items on the list were the top responses to the survey.

City official picked the top handful from each category to wrap into the plan.

Other highlights from Interim City Administrator Logan Burns first update to the city council included:

• Floor slabs are  being poured at the site of the new Great Bend Justice Center, 12th and Baker. When completed, the facility will house the Great Bend Police Station and Municipal Court.

Ground was broken for the nearly $9 million, 20,000-square-foot facility last September. It will take about a year to complete.

• The storm water assessment being conducted by Surveying and Mapping LLC. of Great Bend started back up Tuesday, and they’re approximately a third of the way down with that, Burns said. “They’re looking wrap that up in February currently.”

The city is also looking at televising some of the structures in the pipes in problem areas that happened during flooding events. “That way we can see what’s going on there,” he said.

• The automated water meter reading system installation has resumed. There are about 400-500 meters installed so far in the southeast part of town,  between Broadway and 18th and then between Harrison and Washington.

With this system, water use for the city’s roughly 6,500 users is beamed directly to the Water Office at the Front Door Facility. Usage can be read and tracked in real time.

The cost of the system and related infrastructure came in at about $2.4 million, plus some annual maintenance expenses

This is seen as a way to improve accuracy in tracking consumer water use and save the city money.  By alleviating the city’s long-running water meter reading woes, it is expected to pay for itself in five to 10 years.