By KEN CARPENTER
Great Bend Post
The Barton County Commission decided not to review applications for the county’s façade improvement program at their weekly meeting on Tuesday morning. They voted to table the issue and move their discussion of the program to a study session later in the morning.
The façade improvement program was created by the Commission on Aug. 9. Commissioners set aside $300,000 from the county’s general fund to help property owners renovate storefronts in designated downtown areas in Great Bend, Hoisington, Ellinwood and Claflin. The county will pay 75 percent of eligible project costs with a maximum award of $20,000.
During the study session, three building owners in Great Bend and two in Ellinwood presented their proposals for grant money.
Commissioner Jennifer Schartz explained why she preferred to hear those proposals during a study session.
"I really wanted to kind of slow this process down so that we have plenty of time to ask questions of everybody that comes in and do it in the study session,” Schartz said. “I think it’s a little more relaxed.”
The Commission cannot take votes or award grants during a study session.
At their meeting last week, the Commission awarded more than $75,000 to four property owners. Three received the maximum $20,000 grant. Awards are given based on the project’s size and visual impact.