City moves ahead with quality of life plan
First projects to be done yet this year
BY DALE HOGG
The Great Bend City Council Monday night approved the the quality of life sales tax approved by voters last November. The projects are part of a 10-year quality of life capital improvement plan.
First on the list are the projects to be completed yet this year. The council thought by completing these, the public would start seeing tangible results from the tax measure.
This past spring, the 13-member City of Great Bend Quality of Life Committee was formed, said City Administrator Kendal Francis. 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, come May, the group released a public survey. The purpose is to seek some feedback from citizens of all ages.
The culmination of all those meetings and survey results were presented when the council during a study session on Sept. 19.
The plan outlines the projects for the next decade, along with projected costs, Francis said. Most of the items on the list were the top responses to the public survey.
There were around 1,400 respondents covering most age groups. In all, they suggested 75 projects in three price categories ranging from under $50,000 to over $200,000.
City official picked the top handful from each category to wrap into the plan.
The ones included for 2022 are:
• Restroom upgrades (using automatic timed locks) for year-round access).
• Better lighting on the Veterans Memorial Park walking path.
• Reviving the sidewalk improvement cost-share program (see related story).
• The fishing habitats (working with the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks)
• Additional Christmas lights with the goal of making this a “Christmas City.”
• Dog park updates (perhaps making separate areas for large and small dogs).
• Funds for what is know as the Brit Spaugh Project (the development of the south end of Brit Spaugh in cooperation with the Great Bend Recreation Commission).
In all, these total $330,500 for this year. The estimated revenue from the tax comes to an estimated $566,628 per year, but current projections show tax collections exceeding this.
As for the Brit Spaugh initiative, this could involve outdoor basketball and pickleball courts, a playground, soccer field and restrooms.
The plan he presented sets aside about $750,000 over the next three years for this. There may be private funds included as well.
More about the plan
The top two vote getters were a citywide cleanup (which wrapped up Sunday, but didn’t use sales tax funding) and a splash pad (this is in the works for 2023 at a cost of about $240,000).
Other projects include:
Other top projects included:
• Extending the hike-bike path (possibly as far as Veterans Park).
• Improvements to Brit Spaugh Zoo.
• A paintball course (possibility to be located at the Expo Complex).
• Bathrooms at Langrehr Field.
• A public shooting range (perhaps located in conjunction with the Police Department’s facility west of town).
Funding for all of these was included in the plan over the next 10 years.
The committee members were Bruce Swob, Sharon King, Debbie Munz, Stephen Patton, Curtis Arnberger and Kate Wary. Alternate members include Randy Goering and Kaylean Weber. The six join Ward 3 Councilman Cory Urban, Ward 1 Councilwoman Lindsey Krom-Craven, Ward 2 Councilwoman Jolene Biggs, Francis, Public Lands Director Scott Keeler and Great Bend Recreation Commission Assistant Director Chris Umphres.
The tax translates into 15 cents for every $100 spent, and will bring in about $565,000 annually.
With the understanding that sidewalks are important to the community, the Great Bend City Council Monday night approved the SAFE (Safer Access for Everyone) Sidewalk Program.
“We know this is a key need in our community,” said City Administrator Kendal Francis. A survey conducted earlier this year by the city’s Quality-of-Life Committee identified the public’s desire for a cost share program to assist property owners with needed repairs of public sidewalks.
The plan provides both residential and commercial property owners a 50% reimbursement of labor and materials up to $800 (corner lots are eligible for up to $1,600). If the repairs are self-performed, the plan will only reimburse for materials, City Administrator Kendal Francis said.
This program will be annually funded at $20,000. The FY2022 funding will be provided by the quality-of-life sales tax. In subsequent years, it will be funded half from sales tax and half from the Public Works budget.
“There are numerous benefits of well-maintained sidewalks,” Francis said. These include:
• Allow unimpeded travel for disabled residents and comply with regulations of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
• Improve the public health by encouraging walking.
• Facilitate travel by those who are unable to or choose not to drive.
• Improve Great Bend’s aesthetic image.
• Contribute to the general upkeep of Great Bend’s older neighborhoods.
• Improve the quality of life for Great Bend residents.
To participate in the program the property owner is responsible for submission of an application and ensuring that all concrete work is done to city standards and specifications. The city’s involvement will consist of inspecting the property prior to construction and returning once the work is complete to perform a final inspection prior to payment.
The property owner must submit a copy, to the city, of paid invoice for reimbursement. Work must be completed within 30 days of application approval.
The City will pay for the installation of ADA approaches on corner lots. ADA approaches must be constructed as per ADA compliance.
Applications will be accepted on a first come, first served basis until all funds budgeted for the program are exhausted.
There was talk about the damage caused to sidewalks by tree roots and if this should not be addressed more in the plan. It was decided to see how will utilized the program is, and if necessary, it can be expanded.
• This program will not cover driveways or sidewalks from the public sidewalk to the dwelling and costs associated with sprinkler repair.
• All sidewalks must be constructed of concrete and to current city sidewalk standards and is subject to application approval, pre-pour inspection and final inspection. Failure to schedule an inspection shall disqualify the project from this program.
• Property owners can hire a contractor or repair sidewalks themselves, providing, sidewalks are built to city standards.
• If tree roots have caused the sidewalks to rise or damage, the city will determine If the tree roots can be cut, and tree can be saved. If the tree must be removed, the property owner will be responsible for the tree removal.
• Property owners may apply for SAFE for rental properties.
Quality control and eligibility for the program
• Prior to beginning any work, property owner must make an application with City’s Engineering Department at 525 Morton Street.
The application form may be obtained by calling or by visiting the “Doing Business” page on the City’s website under the City
Engineer at www.greatbendks.net/62/Engineering,
• One of following sidewalk conditions must exist: Sidewalk must be sunken or risen to a height difference of one inch or more between
sections; sidewalk must be broken or separated into three or more pieces; or 50% or more of the sidewalk surface must be deteriorated.
• If eligible, the property owners/licensed private contractor will get a right-of-way (ROW) permit with the Engineering Department.
• Inspection should be scheduled by contractor/ property owner prior to the concrete pour and after the complete construction.
What the rules say
According to a city ordinance: “Every property owner shall keep the sidewalk abutting his property in repair and shall be liable for any injury to persons or property caused by any broken, raised, or lowered places in the sidewalk or other defects which it was his duty to have repaired.” Francis also said the city could force a property owner to take action of a damaged sidewalk, but the such steps have not been utilized.
Great Bend has had a program like this on the books for some time, Francis said. However, it was poorly written and under funded, and was not widely utilized.
For questions related to the Sidewalk Replacement Program, please contact the Engineering Department at 620-793-4150.
Great Bend City Council meeting at a glance
Here is a quick look at what the Great Bend City Council did Monday night:
• Heard about a new mountain bike-hiking trail planned for Rotary Lake in southwest Great Bend at Seventh and MacArthur Road. It is currently under construction and will total about 1.8 miles.
The trail will be accessible for cyclists and hikers of all ages and skill levels.
• Approved the quality of life capital improvement plan.
• Approved the SAFE (Safer Access for Everyone) Sidewalk Program.
• Approved the bid for a city-wide storm water assessment and mapping from Surveying and Mapping LLC. of Great Bend for $89,300.
The city put out a request for quotes for qualifications from consults for a citywide storm water assessment and mapping. This project is the first phase of a multi-phase storm water master planning effort, said Assistant City Engineer Hitha Kadiyala.
The existing system includes approximately 200,000 linear feet of of 12-48-inch storm sewer with approximately 1,500 structures. Conducting a citywide storm water assessment and mapping will provide a foundation for investigation in further phases like basin analysis and developing policies, she said.
Geographic information services (GIS)-based data inventory helps with monitoring existing storm water practices along with identifying potential locations for implementing new best management practices). SAM is the only RFQ the city received with a base. Any additional televising, inspection and miscellaneous will be charged through an approved change order as per submitted project fee in the RFQ.
Start date is expected to be the last week of this month with the work expected to be done in a 120 days.
The city will tap COVID American Recovery Plan Act funds.
• Approved a 48-month, 3% interest lease purchase agreement with First Kansas Bank for the purchase of an Elgin Pelican Sweeper from Key Equipment for $281,105.49. The payments will be $60,000 per year and the machine should arrive in December.
• Approved allowing Housing Opportunities Inc.’s Cambridge Park development south of Walmart (outside the city limits) to connect to the city’s sanitary sewer and potable water system following completion of all associated permitting and payment of fees. However, this was contingent on HOI applying for annexation into the city.
HOI projects an approximate eight-10-year timeframe for full build out, City Administrator Kendal Francis said. At which time, engineers have projected the development to have a maximum flow of 50,000 gallons per day.
City team members were concerned about the capacity of the lift station serving that area as its wet well was not built as large as designed. So, Francis said the city installed monitoring equipment to calculate the station pumps’ run time and its capacity for additional flows.
The report indicates that Cambridge Park’s additional flows would not significantly impact the lift station.
One caveat is that this lift station services a large portion of the western half of the city including the industrial park. Any new development in those areas will feed into that lift station.
The city should start considering a long-term plan for upsizing the lift station to accommodate future growth.
Francis said the city team recommended allowing the connections.
HOI is proposing to develop the 24 acres of land purchased just south of Walmart, known as the Brynwood Addition. This development will consist of three separate phases to incorporate multiple different types of housing totalling 64 units.
• Approved the 2023 salary resolution setting the salary ranges approved as part of the 2023 city budget.
• Heard a report from City Administrator Kendal Francis. He focused on citywide cleanup that wrapped up Sunday.
• Approved abatements for trash and refuse violations at: 812 Pine Pl., TM Acquistions LLC.; 1600 Baker Ave., Marleen Davison; and 309 Walnut St., Aida Guadalupe and Molina Contreras.
• Approved abatements for vehicle nuisance violations at: 2214 Jefferson St., Jim Potter; 1210 Hubbard St.,Francisco and Maria Rios; 1418 Hubbard St., WHB Inc.; 216 Chestnut St., Santiago Nunez; 2525 12th St., Eduardo Torres; and 1419 19th, Thomas Pearson.