Archive for Thursday, June 15, 2006

Official sees potential for boom

June 15, 2006

Could Leavenworth County be the next Johnson County in decades to come?

As executive director of Leavenworth County Development Corporation, Lynn McClure must consider questions like this. And although most of LCDC's major projects fall into the categories of "long-term" or "very long-term," a development boom may be just around the corner.

"We should be having the same discussions now that back in the late '50s and '60s that Johnson County was having about connectivity and growing their area," McClure said.

Leavenworth County is growing steadily, but McClure said with the proper connectivity to the Kansas City market, the area could be booming. He talked about one of the largest far-reaching ideas that could impact the county during the May meeting of Lansing Business After Hours: a new traffic loop around Kansas City that could cut through Leavenworth County.

"A '235' or a new loop to Kansas City certainly has been something that they've tossed around," McClure said in an interview after the meeting. "They've talked about this project for a number years, and it would certainly be in their bailiwick to be visionary.

"What I'm suggesting is that we could do a lot of things here over the next 15 years to impact that decision," McClure said. "If we create access that can flow through Leavenworth County : the growth potential that brings for 20, 30, 40 years from now is immense."

In the nearer future, one of the largest potentials for growth is the possible construction of a National Bio-Defense Facility north of Leavenworth. Sites are currently being evaluated for a 500,000-square-foot facility that would employ nearly 400 scientists.

Although the facility would likely be under construction for up to five years, the potential for fringe economic development would be huge.

With an average salary for workers in the neighborhood of $65,000, the total payroll would approach $30,000,000.

That the county is being considered for such a development is a good sign, McClure said.

"Leavenworth County has a lot of opportunity for growth in front of it," he said.

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