2003 CPEO Military List Archive

From: CPEO Moderator <cpeo@cpeo.org>
Date: 14 Mar 2003 19:22:39 -0000
Reply: cpeo-military
Subject: [CPEO-MEF] Committee endorses plan to set up Sunflower redevelopment authority
Posted on Wed, Mar. 12, 2003
Committee endorses plan to set up Sunflower redevelopment authority
The Kansas City Star

TOPEKA - A Kansas Senate panel endorsed a bill today that would require
Johnson County commissioners to establish a special authority to oversee
redevelopment of the former Sunflower Army Ammunition Plant.

County officials originally wanted the option of creating such an
authority. But the Senate Commerce Committee sided with De Soto Mayor
David Anderson, who wanted to make establishment of the authority

Anderson, who testified before the committee Tuesday, also expressed
concern that De Soto wouldn't be guaranteed a seat on the seven-member
authority. The mayor wanted the ability to directly appoint a member.

The senators didn't give him that but agreed to a provision requiring
that three of the board members come from cities or townships bordering
the 9,000-acre site in western Johnson County.

De Soto is the only city with boundaries that touch the site.

"The city of De Soto and several surrounding townships will all have
some representation on that board to help decide what's going to happen,
the cleanup and some of the planning for it," said House Speaker Pro tem
John Ballou, a Gardner Republican.

Before the committee voted, Ballou told the senators it was time to
start redevelopment of the property, which is in the process of being
transferred from the Army to Johnson County for private development.

Ballou said county government took over a former Navy air station
between Olathe and Gardner in the 1970s and turned it into a major
industrial park. In the process, he said, the city of Gardner was left
without an industrial tax base or a say in what happens at the former
military base, which is now called the 21st Century AirCenter.

He said the Legislature shouldn't allow that to happen to De Soto when
the Sunflower site is developed.

The bill approved by the committee sets up the process for that
development once the federal government turns over the property.

It would give the redevelopment authority quasi-municipal powers,
including the ability to grant property tax breaks to developers, and
review and approve development plans.

Kessinger/Hunter Inc. of Kansas City is the only developer that has
expressed interest in acquiring the entire 9,000 acres. Currently, the
U.S. Army is responsible for cleaning up contamination resulting from
the production of artillery shell propellants.

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