Bio lab takes interest in city
Officials try to lure business to town
State, county and city representatives are teaming together in an effort to lure a bioscience business to Tonganoxie.
News of the effort, referred to as "Project Zealand," surfaced during last week's meeting of the Leavenworth County Development Corp.'s board of directors.
Christie Isaacs, LCDC staff liaison, told board members the unnamed business prospect develops medications for horses, cows and pigs.
"Right now, it's just in the beginning stages," Isaacs said Tuesday, noting the prospect came to LCDC's attention through a referral from the Bioscience Development Corporation of Tonganoxie, a group of area business leaders and residents devoted to luring bioscience businesses to the city.
Isaacs said LCDC, the Kansas Department of Commerce and local officials are involved in discussions with the prospect.
Chris Donnelly, a Tonganoxie banker and board member of both LCDC and the Bioscience Development Corp., is spearheading local efforts to land the business, Isaacs said.
"From a local perspective, we'll do whatever we can to help bring jobs to our community," Donnelly said.
He referred other questions about the business to Isaacs, as did Tonganoxie City Administrator Mike Yanez.
Isaacs told LCDC board members the prospect is interested in building four to six Biological Safety Level 2 laboratories to develop medications for pigs, cows and horses. BSL categories are based on national standards developed by the Centers for Disease Control and the National Institutes of Health. The categories range from BSL-1 to BSL-4.
BSL-1 procedures are comparable to those used in a high school biology laboratory. BSL-2 procedures add access control and enhanced microbiological practices, according to the CDC.
The National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility, which is being courted by Leavenworth County for a site near Fort Leavenworth, would be a BSL-4 lab.