Archive for Wednesday, May 16, 2007

LCDC board welcomes Vestal at meeting

May 16, 2007

City elections last month have brought at least one new face to the Leavenworth County Development Corp. board of directors.

The board, which met Thursday in Tonganoxie, welcomed newly elected Tonganoxie Mayor Mike Vestal.

"Mike came right out there during his campaign and said he's open to economic development and growth," Tonganoxie city administrator Mike Yanez told the group.

Yanez also discussed plans for a new bike trail and swimming pool that are coming to the host city.

The Chieftain bike trail, which will run from the VFW Park to Fourth Street, should be ready to ride by the end of the month, barring more adverse weather. Eighty percent of the $400,000 project will funded by the Kansas Department of Transportation.

A completely renovated Chieftain Pool, funded by the two-thirds-cent sales tax that was overwhelmingly supported in the April 3 general election, could be ready as soon as Memorial Day next year, Yanez said.

"We're staying busy, but it's a lot of good stuff," he said.

Lansing City Administrator Mike Smith's updated the group's board on the resurfacing of 147th Street between McIntyre and Dempsey Roads. The joint project is being funded by the city of Lansing and Leavenworth County.

Smith also said Main Street construction, which has slowed traffic through Lansing again this spring, is on schedule and that all lanes will hopefully be open in four to six weeks.

Lastly, Smith announced that an agreement had been reached between the lone property owner preventing Towne Center development west of Main Street between 4-H Road and West Kay Street. The $63 million center will be anchored by a Lowe's home improvement store and, possibly, a Hy-Vee grocery store.

"I was able Tuesday (May 8) to get all parties together to resolve the issue," Smith said. "No one stands in the way now of the Lowe's that will go in next April."

In her report, Christy Isaacs, LCDC's Economic Development Coordinator, mentioned nine ventures planned for Leavenworth County, including possibly a new concrete company, a plastics manufacturer, an excavating company, and an ethanol plant; the expansion of the Corrections Corporation of America Leavenworth detention center; and progress on the National Bio- and Agro Defense Facility.

Leavenworth interim city manager, Robyn Stewart said Department of Homeland Security officials have been in contact with "a few followup items" since their April 18 site visit to Leavenworth.

Site visits for the other 16 competing sites around the country were to wrap up this week with the list being narrowed to three or five candidates in June.

Even if the Leavenworth site is not among those selected, LCDC President Tony Kramer said, "We're still a winner. (Everyone involved) has seen the efforts Leavenworth County has made. ... We're on the map now, and they know that we're a player in the bioscience industry."

Finally, Isaacs encouraged members to register for the LCDC golf tournament, which is scheduled for June 1 at Trails West Golf Course at Fort Leavenworth. Registration for the event is $75 a person. Isaacs said LCDC is also soliciting sponsors for the event.

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