For over 100 years, the Barton County Courthouse Square, portions of which are now commonly referred to as Jack Kilby Square, has been a focal point for Great Bend, a center of community events ranging from City Band concerts to Cinco de Mayo to June Jaunt.
For much of that time, the venerable Clayton L. Moses Memorial Bandshell has been an integral part of those many colorful celebrations. Crowds have gathered in the plaza, filling it with sounds of conversation, laughter and music.
Now, that area is about to see some improvements, thanks to an incredible partnership between the City of Great Bend, which owns the park, and the Thelma Faye Harms Charitable Trust. The two entities are teaming up for what is a $500-700,000 project that will breathe new life into the square.
For the bandshell, there will be an expanded stage, handicapped accessibility and other nifty features. There will also be a splash pad with water-spraying features for the children.
The plan is to have these upgrades completed by next spring, 81 years after the 1926 donation of the bandshell by descendants of Great Bend pioneer Clayton L. Moses. It is believed that the new items will enhance the downtown and draw more folks to the park and to nearby businesses.
This project has long been near and dear to city officials, which has about $600,000 set aside for it. It has also been a top priority for the Harms Trust, whose trustees are willing to chip in $200,000.
Such work may not always be possible when it must be paid for solely with public funds.
It is good to see such public/private cooperation. This, like the Golden Belt Veterans Memorial, is a tribute to citizens coming forward to help make their home a better place to live.