Archive for Tuesday, May 10, 2011

New CR1 industrial park development option pitched

May 10, 2011

Tonganoxie City Councilman Chris Donnelly on Monday pitched a different approach to develop the city’s 237-acre industrial park south of the city.

Donnelly, who is chairman of the city’s Industrial Park Committee, said the city has had numerous prospects tour the park, which the city purchased for $1.38 million in 2008. They have come away from the tours observing, “It’s not ready,” he said.

The committee proposed an affordable approach to get a single site ready to be developed for one business, Donnelly said. To get the city its initial return on its investment, it was suggested that the city extend only the infrastructure needed to serve the park’s first tenant.

An October 2009 study by the engineering firm TransSystems estimated it would require $14 million to provide water, sewer, streets, gas, electrical power and other needed infrastructure elements to the park. The committee's suggested approach recognizes that is out of reach.

“Right now, we have big money of $13, $14 or $15 million to get that moving,” Donnelly said. “That’s just a pipe dream.”

The proposed approach would look at the cost of developing one pad site for a building from 300,000 to 600,000 square feet on 30 to 60 acres, Donnelly said. It would keep infrastructure costs down through such means as:

• The installation of smaller force main sewer or sewage holding tank system rather than extension of a larger gravity feed main connecting to the city sewer system.

• The installation of a smaller waterline for potable water while allowing Suburban Water to provide fire protection. That would spare the city the need to build a water tower for the one business.

• Constructing a street the length needed to get to the site and leaving off its finishing layers of asphalt until the first tenant commits to the park.

“I don’t know if it’s cheap or not,” Donnelly said. “But that’s what you as a council need to look at. It’s just a different cost method.”

Finding the cost of the approach would help the city determine what it should do with the property, Donnelly said.

“If we can’t afford either of (the development methods), we need to get out of it,” he said. “I’ve said that all along.”

The city would need another engineering study to develop the scaled-down infrastructure costs, and Brian Kingsley of the city’s engineering consultant firm, BG Consultants, shared a proposal to complete such a study for $5,850.

Council members in general supported the study, but they agreed to table the appropriation until June 13 when the city is expected to have the results of a marketing study on the new park.

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