Tailgate Ranch ripe for annexation in city
Move Hinges on site of turnpike access
Tonganoxie has grown in recent years. But that growth would pale in comparison to a possible future annexation.
Monday night, Tonganoxie city council members received a letter from Ralph E. Lewis, an attorney representing Paul and Elizabeth McKie. The McKies own the 2,000-plus acre Tailgate Ranch, south of Tonganoxie.
The letter stresses the McKies' "strong support" for a new Kansas Turnpike interchange at County Road 1 and for selecting County Road 1 as the connecting link between U.S. Highway 24-40 and the new turnpike interchange.
Lewis included the following paragraph in his letter:
"In the event these selections are made, my clients would petition to have their property voluntarily annexed into the city of Tonganoxie subject to mutual agreement on the extension of municipal services to the area and a comprehensive land use plan for the area to be annexed."
Currently, according to Jeff Culbertson of Leavenworth County's geographic information systems department, the city of Tonganoxie comprises 2,166 acres.
The Tailgate annexation would double that.
A broad view
In an interview, McKie said he envisioned the turnpike interchange as more than a way for southern Leavenworth County to have turnpike access.
"I see it as a connector to K-10," McKie said. "It would in effect create a circumferential for a fairly large area."
Kansas Highway 10 is a major traffic corridor that extends from Lawrence to the Kansas City area.
McKie and his wife have owned land in southern Leavenworth County since 1962.
"We've always been very happy with it the way it is and really we'd like to see it stay that way," McKie said. "But that isn't always practical. We'd like to not change a darn thing, but that's not the way the world works."
McKie said others have raised the suggestion of building a golf course. He said that could depend on how it was laid out, noting the Ironhorse Golf Club, in Leawood, has been a success.
According to the Ironhorse Web site, efforts were made to maintain the natural aspect of the land while planning the course.
"We're probably going to need to examine the uses with our family," McKie said. "Because we haven't. We always assumed it (development) wasn't going to happen. We're probably going to be putting some things together. The family has a little background in that area."
McKie said whatever happens, zoning is important.
"I've always been in the opinion that the one thing we need in Leavenworth County that I don't think we have at all is zoning," McKie said. "You can put a hut up next to a castle and everybody loses."
And as far as possible commercial development in part of the property, McKie said he is a proponent of drawing "major" companies and permanent buildings.
"Not tin buildings," McKie said. "And major employees and employers, they're out there, they're available."
McKie said he's not sure where water for development would come from.
He said he was not aware that the city of Tonganoxie several years ago purchased property along the Kansas River for possible future water usage.
However, for his ranching purposes, there's been plenty of water.
"We've got all the water we need on the ranch because the Tonganoxie sandstone strata runs through the ranch," McKie said.
The McKies' Tailgate home was built in 1872. For the past 43 years, as the family gradually acquired more land in southern Leavenworth County, the McKies have operated a cattle operation.
In 2003, McKie was named the Beef Improvement Federation's National Commercial Producer of the Year.
He often shows the ranch to agricultural touring groups from the United States as well as from other countries.
"We're proud of it and the people I like to show it to are the people who understand it," said McKie, who is also a past director of the Kansas City, Mo., American Royal.
McKie is proud of his agricultural background.
"It's been 40 years of work and it's very rewarding," McKie said.
McKie said Tailgate Ranch is in an area where intense development eventually will occur.
"I won't live to see it, but my children may live to see it," said McKie, who is 76. "There will be a helluva lot of stuff between here and Kansas City and here and Lawrence."