Business park in town’s near future
The first step in building a business or industrial park in Baldwin is underway.
The Baldwin City Council approved in a 4-0 vote at Monday's meeting a real estate contract and option agreement for 42 acres of land northwest of Baldwin. Council Member Amy Cleavinger was absent from Monday's meeting.
The 42 acres is located on the northeast section at Lawrence Street and U.S. Highway 56. Under the agreement, the city will initially pay $10,500 as a one-year, option-to-buy payment. The city can extend the option to buy for another year with an additional payment of $10,500.
Should the city decide to purchase the 42 acres of land for $273,000, the money spent on the option payment will go toward the purchase of the land.
Mayor Ken Hayes said the interest in purchasing the land began when two manufacturers expressed interest in re-locating in Baldwin.
He said the business park will be a joint effort between the city and the county. In fact, he said, the county will eventually purchase the land and Baldwin will be required to complete necessary infrastructure upgrades.
The city is also looking at an additional 180 acres in the area, but has not taken any action on purchasing the additional land.
Council Member Todd Cohen said he thought this was an appropriate time to enter the land purchase agreement.
"The site is excellent for a successful business park," he said. "It is right on the highway with side-street access, and the power and electricity are adjacent to the property.
"Moreover, I feel confident the economic conditions are ripe. With available land here, I am optimistic that we can attract the kind of small businesses that will bring good jobs and build our tax base, but not change the nature of the community."
In other business, the city council:
- Approved in a 4-0 vote to set the city court date for the second Thursday of each month.
- Approved in a 4-0 vote to allow Baker University the use of city streets for its Homecoming parade Sept. 26.
- Approved in a 4-0 vote to use $1,000 from the Irene Murphy Estate for downtown beautification. The $1,000 will be compiled with other Chamber of Commerce moneys to go toward the downtown beautification project.
"I think this is the best way to make use of these funds," Cohen said.
- Approved in 3-1 vote, with Council Member Ted Brecheisen voting against, a resolution supporting the development of senior housing.
The approval followed a presentation by Don Cooper of the Commercial Group, a Topeka-based development company. Cooper said the development company is interested in possibly building senior or multi-family housing at Signal Ridge, the new development north of Baldwin.
The approval only expressed the council's interest in the possibility of senior housing. The development company will have to get council's approval again before any housing is built.
Brecheisen said he felt rushed in making a decision.
"I think you came to us at the last minute when we have no choice and expect us to make a decision," he said. "I don't think the project is all bad. I just hate to be put on a timeline when we haven't had a chance to look at it."
- Heard a presentation from Jim Beach with Kansas Wind Power about the possibility of the city purchasing power from a wind generator.