Archive for Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Basehor’s growth provides hot topic for LCDC meeting

June 20, 2007

Basehor's burgeoning growth was on display for members of the Leavenworth County Development Corp.'s board of directors last week at Community National Bank in Basehor.

Basehor City Administrator Carl Slaugh said that "the No. 1 one thing (for the city's economic development) is housing and residential growth."

Slaugh pointed to growth in mult-family and single-family residences due mainly to new subdivisions such as Falcon Lakes, Fox Ridge and High Point Downs.

"Basehor's seen a $100 million increase in valuation since 2000," he said.

Slaugh said Basehor retail development also is picking up, exemplified in the Pinehurst Retail Center, which includes a Subway restaurant and the Professional Plaza Building, which almost has a developer's agreement complete.

Although "there's still not much to speak of for industrial sites," Slaugh said, he was encouraged by other projects such as the planned improvements to downtown Basehor.

Those improvements, which could include a new City Hall, police station, community center and elementary school, are all part of the Downtown Site Plan put together by Affinity Development Inc., of Overland Park and currently under review by city officials.

To accommodate growth, the city's sewer expansion efforts are under way as well, Slaugh said, with a new plant targeted for completion by the end of 2008.

Slaugh also reported that the U.S. Highway 24-40 Corridor Study has included lots of involvement from Basehor officials, particularly in discussions on whether to add a stoplight at 158th Street or continue using the signal at 155th.

"We're trying to figure out how to tie our north-south streets into State Avenue (U.S. 24-40) and keep five streetlights," Slaugh said.

In other business, LCDC board members unanimously voted to use Smart Solutions Group Inc., of Des Moines, Iowa as the facilitator for a strategic plan committee. The committee will be a 10-to-15-member group that LCDC executive director Steve Jack said would develop a two-year action plan and a five-year strategic vision plan for economic development in Leavenworth County.

Smart Solutions, which Jack said has a wealth of experience with the Iowa Department of Commerce and has been involved in various local projects including work with Aquila Inc., in Blue Springs, Mo., was contracted for $15,000 and was one of four respondents to requests for proposals by LCDC.

Also, LCDC staff liaison Christy Isaacs enumerated on several prospective businesses, including four to six level-2 bioscience laboratories that would develop equine, bovine and porcine medications. The venture, referred to as Project Zealand, has been spearheaded by Chris Donnelly of the Tonganoxie Chamber of Commerce and, if carried out, would come to Tonganoxie.

Speaking points for several other LCDC members included the awaited announcement on cuts made for the National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility scheduled for the end of June. Should the Leavenworth County site near Fort Leavenworth be selected, it would join three to five other finalists in an environmental impact study for the state-of-the-art biodefense facility.

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