This letter is long overdue. As I sat down to express my appreciation for all that Mayor Mike Allison has done, I realized that this letter was better suited for public consumption—I’m sure many others in Great Bend feel exactly as I do.
Where do I start? Mike has done so much for our community as mayor of Great Bend! His support and vision have included many areas ranging from partnerships with USD 428, which include the D.A.R.E. program, Youth Academy and college campus visits to his partnership with Barton Community College as a valuable research resource for the city to study educational needs and employment opportunities -- and then tying those together to create economic growth for our community.
So many communities across the country continue to suffer through high unemployment rates they could not avoid as a result of the economic recession. Mike’s vision to improve commerce helped shield our community from that economic disaster. His leadership, though, represents more than simply maintaining the status quo. He continues to lead our community into times of economic growth and company retention. Proof of that is the support and assistance he provided when CPI bought itself back from A.G. Edwards eight years ago and more recently when CPI was acquired by CUNA Mutual Group in Madison, Wisc. This meant retaining over 400 good-paying jobs in a Great Bend, Kan. firm that continues to grow. More recently Mike’s support in helping a team of local investors purchase Fuller Brush allowed our community to retain a national firm with a historic legacy. The retention of over 180 good-paying jobs was a great achievement.
Mayor Mike Allison’s support of the new Great Bend Regional Hospital has expanded our medical community and expertise. That thriving facility continues to grow as they prepare to break ground on a new expansion that will add 40 to 50 new professional jobs to our community. In addition to our community growth in health care, he has also supported the addition of Sutherlands Lumber (soon to take up residence in the old Kmart building), Family Dollar on the east side of town and more to come. Along with the retention and growth of business comes the need for housing. The recent announcement of new housing is great news as The Reserves at Trail Ridge apartments are planned for late this year and the 22 unit Bedford Place senior duplexes gets ready to break ground as well.
The time (our most precious resource) that Mike has given our community as Mayor has been incredible. Although as mayor he is an elected official, he serves in a volunteer capacity. This position doesn’t always receive the appreciation and recognition it deserves. Therefore, it is long overdue that we all say “Thank You” for all he’s done. We all look forward to another term of his servant leadership.
Jon L. Prescott