Archive for Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Group seeks land for develpment

Port Authority committees on the lookout for potential sites

February 6, 2008

— From identifying land for industrial uses to studying the feasibility of a regional county airport, Leavenworth County Port Authority committees are on the move.

Committee members updated the agency's board on their work at a meeting Wednesday, Jan. 30.

After identifying seven potential sites for a new industrial park in September 2007, the The authority's Land Search Committee will now assess the acquisition and infrastructure costs for each site and will report its findings back to the board of directors during a year- or two-year-long process.

The board unanimously approved Dan Gutshall, vice president of BankLiberty, as chair of the committee after roughly two years at its helm, with authority chairman Terry Andrews serving as an ex-officio member.

The land search committee will be composed of four other voting members in addition to Leavenworth County Planning & Zoning Director Chris Dunn, said LCPA board member J.C. Tibbetts.

With available space at the Gary Carlson Business Park north of Eisenhower Road in Leavenworth and at the Urban Hess Business Center in Tonganoxie diminishing, Andrews said, "Hopefully : we (the port authority) will be out of land in the very near future, and we'll need to move forward with this."

In another report, spec building committee chairman Ed Chapman III said the group has "been moving right along" with a virtual building concept, which essentially puts a building design in place and takes designs up to the point of issuing permits for potential developers looking to move to Leavenworth County without the expense of constructing an actual building.

Chapman said the virtual building concept met with support from the Tonganoxie City Council which, in a meeting Jan. 14, "was interested on how it would support the city of Tonganoxie and the Urban Hess Business Park."

Preliminary drawings for buildings in the park, ranging from 40,000 to 120,000 square-feet, have been created and will be presented at next month's Port Authority meeting.

"We're right on the verge of putting this virtual system into place," Chapman said.

Reporting for the Leavenworth County Air and Business Park Committee, County Commissioner J.C. Tellefson detailed a proposed funding formula for a justification study that would determine the need for an airport and adjoining industrial park somewhere in the county.

The County Commission approved a funding formula, based on population and overall valuation in a meeting Jan. 17. The formul is the same model used to fund the Leavenworth County Development Corp.

Using a maximum figure of $100,000 for the study, commissioners agreed to an expenditure of up to $50,770, added to a previous commitment from the port authority of $15,000.

City Manager Scott Miller said the Leavenworth City Commission was supportive of the funding scheme, which was presented Tuesday, Jan. 22, and calls for $21,284 from the city. The proposal will be voted upon Feb. 12.

Lansing City Administrator Mike Smith said the a request for $6,877 would be brought before the Lansing City Council on Feb. 7, and Mike Yanez, Tonganoxie City administrator, said the Tonganoxie City Council would discuss a possible $3,052 expenditure on Feb. 11.

Andrews also noted that Basehor City Administrator Carl Slaugh has been drafting a request for qualifications for the project. Basehor is being asked to contribute $3,018 to fund the justification study.

In other business:

¢ Christy Isaacs, economic development coordinator for Leavenworth County Development Corp., noted that "Project Zealand," an unnamed business prospect looking to develop medications for horses, cows and swine in Tonganoxie, "is moving right along."

Developers are in the process of drawing a plan for the property, which, once complete, can be submitted to the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, Isaacs said.

¢ LCDC President Tony Kramer encouraged members to attend the group's monthly meeting Thursday, Feb. 14, where consultant Irv Jensen will present the corporation's strategic plan.

¢ LCDC Executive Director Steve Jack said the group's executive committee is putting together issues to be brought before Leavenworth's congressional representatives during an upcoming trip to Washington.

Jack also noted that a more than $9,000 phone bill charged to LCDC for calls made from Dec. 1 to Dec. 5 to Ethiopia, Afghanistan and Saudi Arabia was being contested with AT&T.

Jack said that somebody had "tapped into" the corporation's phone system during that time but added, "We have changed and extended our password to make it more secure."

¢ Andrews said Port Authority members are still under negotiations to extend high-speed Internet access to tenants of authority's business parks.

¢ Bill New, with First State Bank and Trust, asked Port Authority members to support efforts to retain a signal light at 155th Street and U.S. Highway 24-40 in Basehor, despite recommendations from the Kansas Department of Transportation to limit access along the 24-40 corridor.

New said significant investments have made surrounding the intersection and 155th Street houses the city's major retailers, city hall, police and fire departments.

"It's a significant issue in southern Leavenworth County and particularly in Basehor, and, course, we have businesses in both Tonganoxie and Basehor, and we want traffic to flow through good too, but we also feel that nothing justifies the strangling of economics in Basehor to the extent that you would remove any cross traffic at 155th Street," New said.

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