December 05th, 2023

city matt quintLiberal Recreation Director Matt Quint talks to the Liberal City Commission Tuesday evening about the Recreation Department taking over the Southwest Aquatic Team (SWAT) program. Quint said the program provides too many benefits for the community to be shut down. L&T photo/Elly GrimmELLY GRIMM • Leader & Times


The Liberal City Commission approved some maintenance throughout the community during its most recent meeting Tuesday evening. 

The commission began the meeting by approving entering into a grazing lease agreement with Max and Clay Louderback for grazing rights at Arkalon Park for $20 per cow/calf pair. 

The commission then quickly revisited Resolution No. 2348, the city mask mandate that was passed in December. As the mandate had expired between commission meetings, the item was on the agenda again for the commission to discuss whether or not to extend it.

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“‘Face covering’ means a covering of the nose and mouth that is secured to the head with ties, straps, or loops over the ears, or is simply wrapped around the lower face. A face covering can be made of a variety of synthetic and natural fabrics including cotton, silk, or linen. A face covering may be factory made, sewn by hand, or improvised from household items,” the resolution notes. “‘Public space’ means any indoor space located within the property owned by the City of Liberal and all outdoor space that is not privately owned and open to the public – this does not include businesses, residential property, school property, churches, or county-owned property. Outdoor space includes, but is not limited to, city-owned sidewalks, streets, parks, and other city-owned property. ‘City of Liberal’ means all areas within the corporate boundaries of the city of Liberal, and also includes Arkalon Park. The City of Liberal and law enforcement will cooperate with local businesses who decide to require face coverings on the premises. Individuals refusing to comply with face coverings may be issued a criminal trespass warning, which may ultimately result in criminal charges being filed. Face coverings within businesses will be at the sole discretion of the business owner. The City of Liberal is taking no action to require face coverings in private residences; nothing in this resolution shall be construed to require the wearing of face coverings within one’s own residence or surrounding residential curtilage. The City of Liberal strongly discourages the social gathering of individuals who do not live in the same residence. In the event citizens of the City find it necessary to have a social gathering, the City strongly encourages the use of face coverings when adequate distancing of at least 6 feet cannot occur.”

Ultimately, the commission voted to extend the resolution for another 45 days, but discussions will continue as time goes on whether to rescind it or not. 

The commission also approved a request from City Grant Writer Karen LaFreniere to apply for a $500,000 Adult Drug Court Grant with  25 percent matching funds from the city, which would come from the Special Alcohol Tax for a 3-year period. The commission also denied the submission of a CDBG-CV request from M Builders and also approved a bid from to replace 2nd Street from Kansas Avenue to Western Avenue for a total cost of $4,154,177.63.

Matt Quint with the Liberal Recreation Center then talked to the commission about the Rec Center taking over the Southwest Aquatic Team (SWAT) program. 

“They had approached us a couple months ago about helping them out, they’ve been struggling with coaches and volunteers and the board numbers have been falling quite a bit,” Quint said. “This is a great program that’s also been a feeder program for Adventure Bay Water Park staff, a lot of the lifeguards who work at Adventure Bay now went through this when they were younger. It teaches lessons like the different strokes and how to hold your breath underwater and things like that so by the time they get to Adventure Bay, they’re already trained, so that’s helped us out in the long run with certification of lifeguards. We feel, as a staff, this is a huge program we can NOT lose as a community. So I’m asking you all tonight about the possibility of us taking over the SWAT program. We’ll still have to work with the college as far as using that indoor pool, because this is a program that goes year-round and they go to a couple meets every year. All the funding would go through the Recreation Department – we pay the coaches and assistant coaches from the Adventure Bay budget and we work off that, and there is a price to join the team.”

Ultimately, the commission voted to allow the Liberal Recreation Department to be in charge of the SWAT program for the future. Keeping with aquatics, the commission also accepted the donation of equipment and $4,800 from the McCray Pool Association and approved a request to replace two filtration tanks in the lap pool at Adventure Bay for $31,756. The commission also approved a request from the Water Department to purchase a 1-ton pickup for $29,715 and a 1/2-ton pickup for $20,446 from Chrysler Corner.

The Liberal Fire Department was also on hand for a request of its own to upgrade its safety training fire house. 

“This is something I never thought I’d stand before the commission and ask for – we’re asking today for a bounce house for the Fire Department,” Fire Marshal Cody Regier said with a laugh. “This will replace the current smoke house we have on our trailer. It’s been a great tool for us, but this upgrade we’re looking at will give us so many options we’d never even thought about having, and it’s going to be awesome. All of us at the Fire Department are big kids anyway, so I’m sure we’ll find a way to make this work really well for us. The current building and trailer will remain in the city, and that’s something we’re still discussing. Karen has been working for two years on this project, and it was only really recently everything fully came together for us to buy this inflatable fire house.” 

Ultimately, the commission approved the purchase of the inflatable fire house from Boulder Blimp Company for $9,100.