Board reviews development projects
Leavenworth County Development Corporation members met Thursday, Aug. 9, in a monthly meeting at the Tonganoxie VFW to discuss upcoming economic ventures in the county and to update the group on other community development.
Charlie Gregor, executive vice president of the Leavenworth-Lansing Area Chamber of Commerce, reported on a recent meeting with U.S. Parole Commission Chairman Edward Reilly Jr., where they discussed how effectively inmate labor forces are utilized in the area.
Gregor said that over 500 Lansing Correctional Facility inmates contribute to private industries like Heatron, Inc., an industrial supply company in Leavenworth, and Henke Manufacturing, Inc., a snowplow and truck equipment producer in Leavenworth.
"It's a labor pool that isn't going away," Gregor said of the inmate-employees.
Tonganoxie Mayor Mike Vestal updated LCDC members on improvements to the Pleasant Street Bridge and announced that bids were opened for a new public works building Tuesday, Aug. 7, as well as for the planned aquatic center on Monday, Aug. 13.
Vestal also informed the group that lightning strikes had damaged two water towers located in Tonganoxie, and that, until repairs were made, workers were having to pump water manually.
Interim Leavenworth City Manager Robyn Stewart reported that the city commission is set to approve a 2008 budget this week.
In his report, LCDC Executive Director Steve Jack said that Irv Jensen, a planning consultant the group hired to help create a strategic plan for future county development, planned on being at Thursday's meeting but was unable to attend due to personal matters.
Jensen will lead a 15- to 20-member steering committee tasked with creating the strategic plan, which Jack said "should overlap with the county comprehensive land use plan."
Jack reminded LCDC members that the county comprehensive planning committee will hold an open house and light dinner Tuesday, Aug. 21, from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Riverfront Community Center to discuss the county's future growth and development.
In a prospects report, LCDC Economic Development Coordinator Christy Isaacs presented three companies that had requested information on sites in Leavenworth County a heavy industrial complex, a manufacturing plant and a highly technical business dealing in solar power.
Isaacs said that there was either no interest from cities in Leavenworth County or no place to house the prospects, but added that several other local businesses have expressed interest in the Urban Hess Business Park in Tonganoxie.
"We're seeing a lot of heavy industrial and biosciences right now," Isaacs said.
As part of a Leavenworth County Port Authority report, Dan Gutshall with LCPA's site selection committee apprised LCDC members on quality assessment studies currently being conducted on potential sites for businesses in the area.
Gutshall said that seven sites around the county were scored and that those results will be announced in September.
LCDC's next meeting will be held Thursday, Sept. 13, at the Lansing Community Center.