Archive for Wednesday, October 18, 2000

Baldwin City administrator explains park

October 18, 2000

(Editor's note: This is the first in a series of editorials from City Administrator Larry Paine.)

Last week I was asked to make a presentation to the Chamber of Commerce. During the course of questions and answers, Becky McMillen stated the biggest industry in Baldwin City was the rumor mill and encouraged me to begin getting the story out about the city's latest venture into economic development. With the aid of the newspaper, I will be writing for several weeks about the issues and concerns we all have about the possibility of a business/recreation park southwest of Baldwin City.

The material I intend to cover is what I tried to get into a 30 minute presentation at the chamber meeting. I wasn't able to cover everything, however, I will over the course of these reports to the community.

In this issue, I will discuss the basics of the deal we have on the property and the vision the council has for the property. Later I will cover the planning process, municipal impact, business recruitment process and job development. I hope that you review these reports and communicate through the newspaper or to me directly asking about things you are interested in hearing about. You could e-mail me at City Hall at bcctyadm@grapevine.net or drop a note at City Hall. Now to start the dialog.

The issues of economic development and recreation were discussed during my job interview in June 1998. Following my arrival, the City Council and I met in a work session where we developed a general strategy for me to work on during my first months as city administrator. At the meeting, getting land for ball fields and for industrial parks were discussed. Following the meeting, Mayor Krysztof formed a recreation task force to be co-chaired by council member Jennie Washburn and KSB Vice President Mark Eldridge. Their task was to assess the community recreation needs and make recommendations to the council to meet the needs. The results of their work is the foundation upon which the recreation component of this project is based

The council has been focused on the two issues providing for ball fields and economic development. Land search was complicated by the two differing uses. After looking at the property southwest of town, we determined both could be accomplished on one site.

The site is 160 acres bounded by Orange on the north, Lawrence Street on the west and 150 Road on the south. It has a pond on the property covering 14 to 18 acres cutting the property diagonally NW to SE. We envision recreation uses on one side of the pond and business uses on the other. The side dedicated to recreation seems to be the NE half of the property with access off Orange and the business side with access from the Lawrence Street side.

The price of the land was negotiated at $590,000. We paid an option fee of $25,000 to tie up the land for one year. A second option year is possible. If the city chooses to exercise the option, payments made will be applied to the selling price, thus reducing the payment. The reason for taking the option involves the potential financing of the property and I'll discuss those issues next time.

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