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A win-win
Partnership could offer Convention Center answers
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“I love it when a plan comes together,” the fictional television soldier of fortune Hannibal Smith would say when his “A-Team”  had managed to survive yet another adventure. He saw the organization amid the chaos around him.
Great Bend city officials may be saying this now following the City Council meeting last Monday night. At that meeting, the governing body approved entering into a partnership with Barton Community College to shift the development of the Convention Center in a new direction.
In making their presentations, BCC President Carl Heilman and Board of Trustees Chairman Mike Johnson said they saw workforce training and economic development opportunities incorporating the beleaguered center. Their idea? Work with the city   and other entities to utilize the facilities so that it would benefit all the parties.
Under the proposal, the center could be used for career fairs, trade shows, training and mass hiring events that would benefit the college and its career technical education efforts. In addition, it could still be serve as location for chamber gatherings, private events and other functions of a convention center.
Communities that want to survive, Heilman said, must address education, economic development and employment. This partnership goes a long ways towards hitting all three.
 The council also decided to keep the center open as is through the end of 2014. City crews have made some minor repairs and retouches, and more are planned. 
“Sometimes rewards come from patience,” City Administrator Howard Partington said. The agreement followed eight months of grappling with the issue and not getting very far. 
The city was given the funds to purchase the center. As it turned out, that was the easy part. Every other decision required on this project has been a gut-wrenching one.
It sound like a cliche, but this is a win-win situation, if it is realized. It could grow to involve other entities, such as the school district and state agencies.
It is an example of forward-thinking minds coming together.
“We’ll have to see how it plays out,” Partington said.
Let’s hope it provides a much-needed solution.
Dale Hogg