Archive for Thursday, September 20, 2007

LCDC tackling strategic vision plan

September 20, 2007

As county officials work to formulate a comprehensive plan for future growth, members of the Leavenworth County Development Corp., too, are working on a plan to manage development in the area.

LCDC Executive Director Steve Jack said in the Sept. 12 meeting, that the board's Strategic Plan Steering Committee had its first meeting earlier this month with Irv Jensen, a planning consultant with Smart Solutions Group Inc. of Des Moines, Iowa.

Jack said the 15-member committee would formulate a two-year action plan and a five-year strategic vision plan for economic development in Leavenworth County, adding that LCDC's strategic plan "should overlap with the county comprehensive land use plan."

The steering committee plans three or four more staff-level meetings and two public meetings.

"We hope the final product will be out by the end of the year," Jack said.

In other business, LCDC Economic Development Coordinator Christy Isaacs reported on three business prospects in the month of August.

Two of the prospects were small, independent operations being run out of the residents' garages, Isaacs said. One is still looking for a 10,000-square-foot building, and the other was matched with a suitable site in the county.

The larger prospect is a company interested in leasing an existing, 25,000- to 30,000-square-foot building within 10 to 12 miles of a prison, as the majority of its labor force would come from inmate work crews, Isaacs said. She told the board that no such building currently exists, but the company is still exploring its options in the county.

Isaacs also reported that an ethanol plant considering locating in Leavenworth County is no longer on LCDC's list of prospects, because adequate railroad lines do not exist.

"They loved everything about Leavenworth County," Isaacs said, "But we ran into some issues with their transportation needs."

Also at the meeting:

  • Wendy Scheidt, executive director of Leavenworth Main Street Program, Inc., called the First City Festival, which took place Sept. 7 and 8, a "great success."

Scheidt said the first annual festival brought 15,000 people to downtown Leavenworth.

"We're looking forward to the next year," she said.

  • Leavenworth Interim City Manager Robyn Stewart reported that improvements to the old TireTown building at 401 S. Second St. were progressing.

Stewart said the City Commission now holds the deed to the closest building to the Missouri River, and, gradually, ownership of the property will be transferred to the developer.

The building will be turned into loft-like apartments, Stewart said.

  • Leavenworth County Commission Chairman J.C. Tellefson told the board the U.S. Senate had approved, as part of its transportation bill, a $500,000 earmark set aside by Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., for improvements to County Road 1. The bill now goes to a conference committee to resolve differences between the House and Senate bills.

The earmark would finance work south of Interstate 70, leading to a proposed interchange with the road, Tellefson said. Financing for the northern portion is still to be negotiated with the Kansas Department of Transportation and the Kansas Turnpike Authority.

Tellefson called County Road 1 the commission's "pre-eminent concern" now that the county budget is done.

  • Dennis Baragary Sr., with the Leavenworth Water Department, reported on current projects including the 20th Street and Metropolitan Avenue interchange, where the water department is installing 3,500 feet of a 16-inch water main.
  • Basehor City Administrator Carl Slaugh said improvements to Hollingsworth Road at 147th Street are nearly complete and a meeting with KDOT to review the reverse frontage road project north of 155th and 158th streets has been scheduled.

Basehor Planning Director Dustin Smith added that the preliminary development plan for Basehor's City Center was approved.

"It will become downtown Basehor -- the commercial development portion of it," he said.

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