Archive for Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Price tag to start development at CR1 park just less than $2 million

September 13, 2011

For $2 million, the city could make the County Road 1 industrial park ready for its first tenants, the Tonganoxie City Council was told Monday.

The figure was arrived at from a selection of options included in a BG Consultants study undertaken at the request of the council. The study grew from the city’s Industrial Park Committee request the city explore options of how to make ready for development a section of the 237-acre park the city purchased three years ago for $1.38 million.

In a presentation Monday to the council, Councilman Chris Donnelly, who is chairman of the Industrial Park Committee, said the idea was to find an affordable way to open the park for one or two tenants. The approach recognizes the $14 million price tag the engineering firm TransSystems estimated it would take to develop the park was out of the city reach with or without partners, he said.

The study looked at several options and gave cost estimates of extending essential utilities and a viable street to the park east of Leavenworth County Road 1 and south of 222nd Street. Donnelly said the committee then reviewed those options and selected for recommendation to the council what it determined were the best options.

“I don’t have any intention of asking you to do anything at all today, other than think about this in a timely matter,” Donnelly said. “We took the big numbers, and we’re starting to drill it down to real numbers now.”

The committee’s Goldilocks’ type evaluation ended with recommendations of just-right options, with some options passed over as inadequate while others were rejected as too expensive.

For example the final recommendation was to improve 222nd Street 2,100 feet along the park’s southwest boundary at the cost of $700,000. The current 24-foot-wide chip-and-seal roadway would be upgraded to a 32-foot-wide street with a 6-inch asphalt cap and a 6-inch gravel base.

The street option was recommended over a cheaper $300,000 option that would provide a 32-wide gravel roadway with a 12-inch base and a $1 million option that would have provided a 12-inch asphalt cap.

Other recommended utility extensions and improvements included:

• $400,000 for the grading of 40 acres of the park’s southwest corner. Donnelly said that would be sufficient for one or two buildings.

• $235,000 to extend a 6-inch waterline from the city’s south water tower to the southwest corner of the park.

• $280,000 to extend a 3-inch sewer line from the Eagle Valley interceptor to the southwest corner of the park.

• $260,000 to extend a gas line to the park.

Also included was a 25 percent contingency for engineering, easement acquisition and other project costs, which increased the total cost to $1.925 million.

In response to a question of Councilman Jim Truesdell, Donnelly said it was possible the city would have to eat the cost of the sewer force main when a larger gravity main was extended to serve future development in the park. But he said gravity main, which would cost more than $2 million in the recommendations, was beyond the city’s current means.

Donnelly restated the city’s goal of finding a partner. The most probable partner would be Leavenworth County, either through direct involvement or through the Leavenworth County Port Authority. Last month, a Leavenworth County Port Authority study estimated the park in its first 15 years would return $9.28 million in revenue to the city from land sales, excise taxes and property taxes. It estimated the park would produce another $9.4 million in revenue over that period for USD 464 and $5.27 million for the county.

Donnelly said there was no guarantee companies would locate to the park with the proposed improvements. But he said there was reason to be optimistic because three to four prospects have viewed the park in recent months.

The latest prospect told city representatives Tonganoxie did not make its final selection list because the park was undeveloped.

Donnelly and Mayor Justin Ward said the park offered Tonganoxie a chance to expand the city’s tax base beyond its current dependency on residential properties and to bring quality jobs and new residents to Tonganoxie.

“I truly believe that park is the engine that will continue to drive Tonganoxie in this recession,” Ward said. “We can’t continue to depend on the growth and urban sprawl of Kansas City to grow the city.”

But Ward said the proposal needed to be considered in conjunction with other city priorities, particularly the need for a new police station.

With the cost of extending limited utilities to the park known, the city should now restart discussion on the police station and possible refurbishing of an existing building in the city for a combined police station and second fire station.

The council agreed to have a special meeting for that discussion at 7 p.m. Monday with much of it being in executive session to discuss negotiations for the acquisition of real property.

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