RDA Happenings October 2016
Posted on October 31, 2016 – By Emporia RDA
Hooray! Warren Way is paved! Back in 2013, Simmons Pet Food announced a significant expansion. Then in 2014 they announced another significant expansion. These were multi-million dollar expansions of the addition of more production equipment, building additions, and the creation of over a hundred quality full-time jobs.
Park III, which is the industrial/business park located south of East South Avenue, north of East Logan Avenue, and west of Road MS. The businesses located in Park III are Hill’s Pet Nutrition, Norfolk Iron & Metal, CAMSO, and Simmons Pet Food.
Warren Way is an internal street in Park III located on the west side of the Simmons pond, east of the Simmons west building. From the intersection of East Logan Avenue and Warren Way the street heads north, then turns east underneath the Westar 115 KV transmission lines, bears to the east to where the street intersects with Penny Lane.
With the expansion at Simmons in 2013, the Regional Development Association of East Central Kansas staff submitted an application to the Kansas Department of Transportation (KDOT) in August 2013 for an Economic Development matching grant to fund 50% of the street paving and improvement costs.
The benefits of the grant application were, first, the grant would assist in the future development of Park III. Approximately 72.5 acres of property in Park III had no direct paved access.
Secondly, Simmons Pet Food was transporting unfinished and finished goods from the west to east building and vice-versa, at the time, annually, nearly 3,000 trips. The former route was Penny Lane east to Weaver Street, then south on Weaver to East Logan Avenue, then west on East Logan Avenue to Warren Way, then north on Warren Way to the Simmons west building. By utilizing Penny Lane and Warren Way from Simmons east to west buildings, the route are all internal streets, which increase the safety. Next it is 2,250 feet less per trip, utilizing the Penny Lane/Warren Way route, thus reducing the annual mileage by 1,279 miles. Since the KDOT grant funding utilizes federal funds, anytime the carbon footprint of less miles and less diesel fuel used, it’s a positive in the awarding process.
The benefits to the existing and future businesses in Park III are numerous in cost savings and leveraging state grant money to assist in the improvements of Park III for existing and future businesses.
In Park III, there are five lots of approximately 72 acres that will be developed in the future. Today all the lots are pad ready, meaning the lots are accessible to a paved street and all utilities are to the lot line.
It is estimated that those remaining sites in Park III will add from 800,000 to 1,000,000 sq. ft. of manufacturing or warehouse space, which would add to the assessed value of $20,000,000 to $25,000,000, which at today’s mill levy would yield $838,000 to $1,074,500 in new property tax revenue for the Emporia School District, Lyon County and the City of Emporia. The estimated additional payroll and job creation on those remaining lots in Park III would generate $26.4 to $33 million in job creation, 600 to 800 full-time jobs.
The Kansas Department of Transportation (KDOT) in 2013 awarded a KDOT Economic Development grant to the City of Emporia to construct the project which also included the street paving, engineering, sidewalks and storm water detention dry ponds. The city was awarded up to 50% of the total project’s costs but not to exceed $500,000.
The project became protracted because of a delay with reviews by FEMA and the Army Corp of Engineers, which could be the basis of another article, however, sufficient to say the project was bid in early 2016, constructed and completed ahead of schedule and opened for use in August 2016.
The total cost of the project was approximately $1,174,177 of which KDOT Economic Development grant paid $500,000. The balance of $674,177.47 will be funded from the Emporia ½-cent City Sales Tax fund for industrial and economic development.
The project was a win-win for the City of Emporia and future and existing businesses in Park III.
The key to obtaining the KDOT Economic Development grant funding was quality job creation, safety, reduction of the carbon footprint and investing for future businesses to grow in Emporia. The RDA will continue to submit grant applications to KDOT to leverage the local development funds with state funds.