Archive for Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Port Authority moves ahead at Urban Hess

April 2, 2008

The Leavenworth County Port Authority's spec building committee continues to make headway in preparing virtual buildings for development in the port authority-owned Urban Hess business park in Tonganoxie.

A virtual, "spec building," in essence, would have designs, permits and an agreement with a contractor in place in order to expedite construction for industrial sites in the park without the expense and risk of physically laying bricks and mortar.

In the port authority's monthly meeting Wednesday, March 26, spec building chairman Ed Chapman III said the committee is still fine-tuning architectural renderings for 40,000-, 80,000- and 120,000-square-foot buildings, based on what potential developers have requested.

"It's hard not to get excited about the possibilities with this," Chapman said. "Not just for Tonganoxie but for Leavenworth County on the whole."

He added that designs will give developers a general idea of what buildings in Urban Hess would look like but said the committee is still trying to leave plans somewhat to a developer's imagination, "so they can take it where they want to take it."

Chapman also said the committee has been in contact with the Tonganoxie Planning Commission so the commission is on board with the virtual building concept.

"Given the capital investments needed to go forward, this seems like the only logical way to get this done," Port Authority Chairman Terry Andrews added.

Christy Isaacs, economic development coordinator with the Leavenworth County Development Corp., reported in Wednesday's meeting that water, sewer and electric lines are in place in the Urban Hess park and that asphalt will be laid by Oskaloosa-based King's Construction this week.

The port authority funded the utility relocation and improvements to Commercial Drive, the road that runs through Urban Hess, at approximately $313,000.

"Everything is going as planned," Isaacs said, adding that sites for development should be "shovel ready" by June 1.

In other business Wednesday:

¢ Andrews said the Leavenworth County Air and Business Park committee is putting the finishing touches on requests for qualifications for firms interested in conducting a justification study to determine the need for a regional airport and industrial park somewhere in Leavenworth County.

With all major cities and the county having approved a funding formula for the study, Andrews said, "I think things are progressing as planned."

¢ Isaacs, reporting for the LCPA's land search committee, said the committee is reorganizing and will move to its next step of determining where to possibly place another industrial park in the county by its April meeting.

¢ LCPA treasurer Charlie Hill submitted bids for liability insurance for the board of directors at $1,125 from Leavenworth-based Reilly & Sons Inc. and for liability insurance for the port authority's three industrial sites at $284 from Safeco Insurance Company of America.

¢ Andrews said the LCPA's board is preparing to let bids for accounting services for the port authority.

He said accounting bids have not been let for several years, adding, "I think we'll get a better price if we work in coordination with LCDC."

In municipal reports:

¢ Lansing Mayor Kenneth Bernard said work on the Bittersweet Street bridge west of Lansing's new elementary school was set to begin.

¢ Tonganoxie City Administrator Mike Yanez said the city's new public swimming pool is "coming along." Yanez said although the pool is scheduled to open June 15, city staff is pushing for a June 1 opening.

¢ Leavenworth City Commissioner Lisa Weakley said work on Delaware Street and Haymarket Square in downtown Leavenworth has commenced and should be complete by the end of the year.

¢ Basehor City Planner Dustin Smith said the city's new community library is set to open April 28, with a grand opening to be held the first week in May.

"It's something I think our community will really be proud of," Basehor planning commission chairman John Flower said.

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