Archive for Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Port Authority to pay for gas line to future industrial park

December 6, 2011

If Tonganoxie forges ahead in developing a 40-acre corner of its city-owned industrial park, it can expect a helping hand from the Leavenworth County Port Authority.

The Port Authority’s board of directors on Wednesday agreed to offer Tonganoxie up to $260,000 total in 2012 and 2013 to help get a section of the park ready for at least one business to move in.

The motion approved unanimously by the five-member board offers to pay for the extension of a gas line to the park along Leavenworth County Road 1, which accounts for $260,000 of the city’s estimated cost of $1.93 million to develop the 40-acre site. The Port Authority will offer the city up to $200,000 toward the gas line in 2012, and it could offer up to $60,000 more in 2013 if it’s needed to complete the line.

Along with the offer come some stipulations for the city, though. To receive the funding for the gas line, the city must also complete the other projects needed to get the 40-acre parcel ready for one or more tenants, on its own or with help from Leavenworth County. Those projects include the extension of sewer and water lines, street improvements and grading work.

The city must also return the Port Authority’s money if it develops the land into anything other than a business or industrial park.

Steve Jack, executive director of the Leavenworth County Development Corporation, said the Port Authority wanted to make sure its funds helped bring jobs to the county.

“The Port Authority doesn’t want to spend the money and send gas if the rest of it isn’t going to happen,” Jack said.

The Port Authority, which is funded entirely by Leavenworth County, would draw most of the funding from a reserve fund for job creation and retention projects, Jack said. That fund currently has more than $500,000 in it, he said.

The funding offer is part of a shift in the Port Authority’s focus, Jack said, toward attempting to attract larger-scale industrial businesses to the county.

“We certainly haven’t done anything like this in recent memory,” Jack said.

The city would need to accept the offer through a resolution or ordinance, Jack said. Tonganoxie officials also asked the Leavenworth County Commissioners last month for funding from the county for the park’s development, and commissioners said they’d like to help, though they have not yet made a formal offer.

“Now we’ll just wait to hear back from the city,” Jack said.

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