Officials say more growth on its way
Southern part of county preparing
As area officials paused this week to reflect on the past and project into the future, a common theme ran through their comments.
Each of them talked about growth and how that will continue to be the story of the early 2000s.
Bill Altman, president of Community National Bank described his prediction for the year 2000 in one word: Bullish.
"I'm really excited about the year 2000," said Altman, who has lived here for 15 years. "We've always felt, from a commerce standpoint, that Tongie was about ready to mushroom."
Altman predicted that the area would begin to see commercial growth.
"I feel that this year things will really start happening," Altman said. "We've got the infrastructure, we've got the good school system, and we've got a great place to live."
The mayor of Tonganoxie, John Franiuk, said he's seen the town take on more of a commercial appearance during the nine years he's lived here.
"We're starting to see the effects of urban sprawl," Franiuk said. "I'm not saying we're becoming a victim of it, but it's definitely happening to us."
Franiuk predicted a prosperous year for southern Leavenworth County.
"I think we're going to have a lot of opportunity for growth in different directions, things we haven't seen before," Franiuk said.
This would include opportunity in the building trade and in land development, as well as opportunities in commercial and retail businesses, Franiuk said.
"I think we're going to see a boom in the commercial and retail businesses," Franiuk added.
Chris Eppley, Tonganoxie city administrator, predicted that the area would continue its upward spiral of prosperity.
"I think we're going to continue to see houses built, I think you're going to continue to see businesses locating to this area which will bring additional services to the residents," he said.
These new businesses spell tax relief, he added.
"They will provide sales tax and will help diversify our tax base," Eppley said. "Hopefully this will keep the property tax mill levy from having to be increased dramatically."
In Basehor, city government's been working diligently, according to John Pfannenstiel, mayor of the town since 1997 and a resident of Basehor since 1988.
"We're getting our house in order," he said
This means that Basehor has been working on needed infrastructure improvements.
"The last couple of years, we've been trying to lay a solid foundation to build on," he said. "One of the biggest things to happen this year is we'll get under way with construction of our wastewater treatment plant."
This will provide sewer capacity for additional development, Pfannenstiel said.
"We've been beyond capacity for several years."
The $3 million wastewater treatment plant should be completed by April 2001.
Basehor's plans also include running a sewer line to U.S. Highway 24-40 between 155th Street and 158th Street to help accommodate commercial development, Pfannenstiel said.
Additionally, infrastructure construction is under way at the Iron Creek subdivision, a 55-house development at the north end of Basehor on 155th Street.
In Tonganoxie, Pat Albert, president of the chamber of commerce, hopes that both residential and commercial developments will continue to expand. Many city residents, he said, have worked to plan for the growth that is on its way.
"We're as prepared as we know to be," Albert said. '' We're doing our best to get there. It's hard because you don't know what's going to happen tomorrow."
But Albert views the city's future as challenging and exciting.
"It's been neat the last few years to watch our community grow and know we're taking steps in the right direction," he said.