By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Visioning group planning public meeting
GB Better than Great seeking public input for city’s future
new_deh_city council snow removal map.jpg

To seek public input into making Great Bend a better place to live, the visioning group Great Bend Better than Great will hold a community meeting from 6:30-8:30 p.m. Thursday at the Great Bend Events Center located at 3111 10th.

The goal of the new organization is to create a roadmap for Great Bend’s future, Great Bend Chamber of Commerce President Jan Peters said. The chamber, volunteers from the business community and the Barton County Young Professionals are leading the project that started this summer with steering committee meetings.

Committee members now hope to inspire the rest of the public around the process, Peters said.

“I am very excited for the community workshop on Thursday,” said Sheila Shockey, founder and president of Shockey Consulting. The Lenexa company specializing in strategic planning for rural communities, is facilitating the process.

“Participants can expect to work with friends, neighbors and fellow community members in highly interactive small group exercises to develop a vision for the future,” she said.

Shockey said the plan is to unveil a plan at the chamber’s 97th-annual meeting and banquet Feb. 23. But, “we will continue to work on implementation for a few months after the roll out.”

The public can also participate via a community survey, which is available to complete online from a new website, 


“Our first two steering committee meetings were designed to energize the group around some upcoming meetings for the general public, and get some initial ideas for discussion topics down on paper,” said Regan Ochs Reif, co-chair of the Visioning Committee. “We were ecstatic about the energy and ideas that the group shared, but that was just the beginning. The next step is scheduling the community facilitated discussions to gather more input from the entire community.”

“We hope the public will participate in the survey as well as in the discussion forum to share their ideas and dreams for the future of Great Bend,” Reif said. “Everyone’s input will be critical as we establish priorities for our community to focus on over the 10 to 20 years.”

Funding for the $50,000 project was granted from the Thelma Faye Harms Trust. 

“We so appreciate the Harms Trust, and their continual investment in the betterment of Great Bend,” said Mark Mingenback, committee co-Chair of the visioning committee. “The advisory

board members realized the need and made a significant contribution to support the process and the plan. We couldn’t have done this without their involvement.”

Learn more about the project, and get involved by visiting One can also contact the chamber office at 620-792-2401.