Archive for Thursday, October 9, 2008

Hill asks council for economic development help

October 9, 2008

Without much on the agenda for Monday night’s Baldwin City Council meeting Dave Hill’s quarterly report and a plea to the council were the biggest items.

Hill, president of the Baldwin City Economic Development Corp., updates the council every four months on what the group is doing to spur economic growth. He said the group has about $22,000 and has added a few new members.

But he wanted to encourage the city council, and staff, to do what it can to prepare for the eventual building of the Gardner Intermodal, a gigantic train transportation and warehouse hub to be built west of Gardner that’s expected to create thousands of jobs. Burlington-Northern Railway is at the center of the project and its officials have taken a look at what Baldwin City has to offer.

“Steve Dodge from Burlington-Northern came in to look around and tell us about the intermodal,” said Hill. “He said they are still waiting on a permit and it should take six months to get the permit and build out in 18 months.

“If we really want something out of this, we need to be ready now,” he said. “We need to have our ducks in a line. There are four things as economic development we want to see from the city.”

1) Consider 3-acre tracts for houses inside the city limits. He said those homes pay their way.

2) Start talking about a business park with the Douglas County Commission.

3) Determine what incentive package the city can present to potential businesses that want to locate here.

4) Get building permits back up from the three so far this year to the 73 that were issued in 2003. He said that will take an improved attitude and process from the city.

Hill said that much of the state of the local economy is a reflection of what’s going on nationally. He showed the council a listing of the houses for sale here, which totaled 56 last month. He said that wasn’t out of line.

“We have our challenges. We can’t do anything about gas prices. We can’t do anything about the national economy,” said Hill. “But I don’t think 56 houses is too many.”

Council President Amy Cleavinger has attended meetings about attracting businesses to communities and agreed with what Hill was saying. She said what those businesses look at is a reason not to choose a city.

“If we don’t have our ducks in a row, they’re going to move on down the road,” said Cleavinger.

The council did approve a change in the city ordinance regarding temporary electrical service hookups and rates. The same was true of an agreement with the Lumberyard Arts Center Project to build a sidewalk to the center that crosses city land. The council also approved the purchase of a new animal control vehicle for $15,688.

Comments

ibelieveinmapleleaf 5 years, 10 months ago

I just don't even have the energy to comment on this anymore.

Torch, could you carry the torch for me on this one?

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conservative 5 years, 10 months ago

What do we need a new animal contro vehicle for? Another waste of Money...... Stupid city...

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ktrendel 5 years, 10 months ago

I applaud the effort and I support the Economic Development Group to encourage the growth of the community by attracting new businesses and families to Baldwin City, but suggest that we as a community cast a better light toward the City Administrator, Public Works Department, Director of Codes & Zoning, Staff and those volunteering their time on the Planning Commission and Board of Zoning Appeals. If we as a community express negative sentiments toward the city’s entities, would only reflect poorly on the city as a whole and would discourage potential newcomers. The development of Baldwin City was very strong in 2003 and in most other outlining metropolitan communities. The total building permits pulled in the city limits of Baldwin City in the calendar year of 2003 were 138, with 70 being for single family or multifamily projects. Because construction cost values were not kept full in 2003, I will not be able to share the total construction value for the projects permitted in 2003. The total number of building permits issued in 2007 was 118 with 11 being for single family or multifamily projects. With these projects in 2007, the total construction value added to Baldwin City was $4,310,147.19. The total number of building permits issued to date in 2008 is 89 with 5 being for single family or multifamily projects. With these projects to date for 2008, the total construction value added to Baldwin City has been $7,046,077.68. Construction has slowed throughout the county, but to insinuate that the lack in building permits issued by Baldwin City are due to the attitude of the city staff is unfair and inaccurate. I would encourage any and all to look at what is best for the community as a whole and not a quick solution that would turn into a long term problem. In order to fully solve the problems we face as a community, we need to hold those making comments held accountable. Please log in and disclose your identity so we all can see who the interested residences of Baldwin City are. Thank You, Kyle Trendel Baldwin City Planning Commission

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