Archive for Thursday, April 22, 2004

Plans continue with Baldwin business park

April 22, 2004

Though the field across from the Baldwin Elementary School Intermediate Center shows no evidence of any business and industrial park yet, Tony Brown wants people to know plans for one on the northwest edge of Baldwin are underway.

"It's just at the beginning stages," he said. "But I think people need to realize we've started the ball rolling in this and we're moving on this."

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Brown, a Baldwin City Council member and chair of the economic development committee, said a site plan has been developed for Baldwin's future business/industrial park.

The plan breaks the 43-acre park proposal in two phases. The first phase, which is designed to have 23 lots on 14 acres, could begin as early as the end of 2004, he said.

"We're looking at trying to get that going relatively soon," he said.

The second phase, which would house 46 lots on 29 acres, would begin at a later date.

Brown said the city has asked the Douglas County Commission to participate in an intergovernmental partnership with the purchase of the property. He said Baldwin is asking the county to purchase the land, or at least help in financing, while the city would take responsibility for developing the property.

"We've identified the way to develop the site," he said. "The next step is trying to get the land."

Following acquisition of the land, Brown said, it would be a matter of attracting small to moderate-sized businesses to the park.

"We're taking it on faith that there are people that want to do business here," he said. "But I think that faith is justified. We think there are prospective businesses out there that would like to explore Baldwin as a place to move."

He said the city has already had several inquiries from prospective businesses about the park.

"If we build this park, hopefully we'll have businesses that are interested," he said.

He said Baldwin would experience a number of economic benefits from the additional business in the park, including an improved tax base, as well as improved infrastructure and quality of life.

"It's just good to have businesses in town that are vibrant," he said.

Brown is sure there will be some people uneasy about Baldwin building a business park.

"People need to realize this is an investment, and with any investment there are risks," he said. "Some people might say we're going out on a limb here, but I don't think it's a very long limb, and I think it's pretty sturdy.

"We have a lot of confidence on this," he said. "We're really quite excited about it."

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