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The Rundown – City acquires additional industrial land

Post Date:12/20/2017 3:07 PM

The Rundown is prepared by the City of Newton Public Information Office to summarize the City Commission meeting and does not represent official Commission minutes.

7 p.m. Dec. 19, 2017, Newton City Commission meeting

At Tuesday night’s meeting, the City Commission purchased 40 acres of land to expand the Kansas Logistics Park.

The property is along East First Street just east of the Prairie View campus. It is separated from the rest of the logistics park by a stretch of agricultural land, but it will be able to be connected via rail line.

The purchase price was $265,000, or $6,625 an acre, considerably less than what the City paid for other land for the logistics park (at $8,000 an acre).

For a number of years, the property owners had indicated a willingness to sell this land to the City, although previously they had been asking $8,000 an acre. Because City staff knew it could be acquired, it has been included over the years in communications to industrial prospects as an available site.

City Manager Bob Myers said the City has not been actively seeking additional property but felt it wise to move forward with the opportunity to acquire this piece at the reduced price while the owners were motivated to sell. The economic development team has been actively marketing other logistics park sites and have a number of proposals out to interested prospects. Should any of those result in a sale, the City could quickly be out of land in the park. This property also has the benefit that it could be served by rail, making it a very marketable addition.

Commissioners said they understood some residents would be critical of the decision to buy more land, but that this particular purchase made sense for the future of the logistics park and was an opportunity that shouldn’t be missed.

The purchase will be paid for using $50,000 of the proceeds of the City’s sale of land earlier this year to Standridge Color Corp., and the balance of $215,000 paid out of sales tax funds budgeted for economic development projects.

Community recognition

The Commission recognized Newton restaurants Back Alley Pizza and Genova for earning spots on Kansas! Magazine’s Top 20 Favorite Local Eateries.

The Commission also recognized Executive Assistant/Deputy City Clerk Melissa Krehbiel for her completion of the Municipal Clerks Certification Institute at Wichita State University, and Newton Police Cpl. Tony Hawpe and K-9 Bella for earning the Master Tracker award from the Heart of America Police Dog Association.

Dilapidated property

The Commission also voted to uphold and reinstate the order of the City’s environmental hearing officer to demolish a dilapidated house at 527 E. 11th St. The property owner, Robert Herrington, had appealed the hearing officer’s decision, and the City Commission had allowed him 30 days to submit a repair plan that detailed specific repair work, a timeline, specific costs and a financial plan. The Commission said Tuesday that Mr. Herrington’s plan did not satisfy those conditions.

In October, the City Commission declared that an immediate hazard existed at the residence after two fires in recent years and inadequate repair attempts. The property was barricaded and no one permitted on the premises other than to do repairs or demolition.

In other action, the City Commission:

  1. Authorized the sale and discharge of fireworks for five days in 2018, from June 30 to July 4.
  2. Ratified 2017 claims for payment and appropriated funds for 2018, including an additional $10,000 to Grand Central, Newton’s senior center.
  3. Received a report from KDOT Director of Aviation Merrill Atwater on the local economic impact of the Newton City/County Airport.
  4. Vacated a utility easement on property at 901 N. Elm.
  5. Appointed Cathy Anderson to the Newton Public Library Board.
  6. Approved applications for renewal of cereal malt beverage licenses.
  7. Approved cancellations of 2016 bad debts.
  8. Approved a resolution outlining the corporate boundaries.

For more information, please contact Director of Communications Erin McDaniel at 284-6055 or