2003 CPEO Military List Archive

From: CPEO Moderator <cpeo@cpeo.org>
Date: 9 May 2003 14:16:01 -0000
Reply: cpeo-military
Subject: [CPEO-MEF] County steps up Sunflower input
County steps up Sunflower input
By:Rob Roberts, Sun Staff Writer
May 08, 2003

Johnson County Chair Annabeth Surbaugh said county government stepped up
its involvement in the proposed redevelopment of the Sunflower Army
Ammunition Plant last week because commissioners fear the federal
government otherwise may parcel out the 9,000 acres - or transfer the
entire site - to undesirable users.

But state Rep. John Ballou, R-Gardner, remained critical this week of
the county's position on the site, insisting that parceling out the
former ordnance plant near DeSoto would give taxpayers a lot more bang
for the buck.

Representatives of Kessinger/Hunter, a Kansas City, Mo., commercial
development firm, and the Cherokee Investment Fund of Raleigh, N.C.,
announced last June that they were seeking ownership of the mothballed
plant site in exchange for their agreement to complete cleanup of more
than 3,000 polluted acres there.

That cost is estimated at between $40 million and $55 million. But
according to Ballou, the Sunflower site is actually worth closer to $1

That's one reason Ballou pushed for legislation this year that would
have required Johnson County to set up a redevelopment authority to
control the site.

"My idea was that the redevelopment authority would price the land at
fair-market value and sell it off in large parcels," Ballou said. The
proceeds, he noted, could have been used to complete the cleanup with
plenty left over for local and state tax relief.

Unfortunately, Ballou said, the county was able to win over state Rep.
Rob Boyer, R-Olathe, who supported alternate legislation stating the
county "may" set up a redevelopment authority but isn't required to. And
because the Sunflower site is in Boyer's district, a majority of House
members voted for the alternative bill.

That bill allows the state to transfer the land directly to a single
developer like Kessinger/Hunter - a move that Johnson County officials
seem to support.

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