Leavenworth County commissioners gave their approval Thursday to a request for proposals document for the development of a new business and technology park in the city of Leavenworth.

Leavenworth County commissioners gave their approval Thursday to a request for proposals document for the development of a new business and technology park in the city of Leavenworth.

The RFP will be issued by the city of Leavenworth, and city officials plan to oversee the project.

Leavenworth County will provide $4.8 million in funding for the project. The city will be responsible for the remaining costs.

The county and city governments initially entered into an interlocal agreement with the Leavenworth County Port Authority for the development of a new industrial park on Eisenhower Road. A groundbreaking for the planned industrial park took place in December, but that project has since stalled.

The interlocal agreement required approval from the Kansas Attorney General’s Office. And the county withdrew support for the agreement after concerns were raised by the Attorney General’s Office. At the time, there was said to be questions about the construction work for the project not being put out for bids.

The county and city governments recently have entered into a new contract for the development of the industrial park. The new contract, which does not involve the Port Authority, is not subject to approval from the Attorney General’s Office.

As part of the contract, city officials agreed to submit the RFP to the county government for review.

The city will be asking for proposals from developers for a turnkey business and technology park. The RFP requests that the park be between 60 and 100 acres in size.

During Thursday’s County Commission meeting, Commissioner Bob Holland questioned how long the city, Port Authority and developer for the stalled industrial park development on Eisenhower Road have been working on the project.

Leavenworth City Manager Paul Kramer said he believes the Port Authority has been looking for a new site for an industrial park for about 10 years. Kramer said he has been involved in the project for about two years.

Holland suggested developers who are new to the project may be placed at a disadvantage.

He suggested the city and county governments could purchase an industrial park site and then put the project out for bids.

Kramer noted that county commissioners already have approved a contract with the city that lays out a process that involves issuing a request for proposals for a turnkey industrial park.

“I just keep seeing roadblocks coming up all the time,” County Commissioner Clyde Graeber said.

He said the city government has stepped up for the project.

“I’m ready to vote on this now to move it forward,” he said.

Holland said that the county is basically going to give the city about $5 million.

Commission Chairman Doug Smith, who voted in favor of the RFP, noted that Holland had attended the groundbreaking on Eisenhower Road. Smith also noted that the commission previously sold bonds to support the project.

“What were you thinking when you went to the groundbreaking ceremony or when you sold the bonds?” Smith asked Holland.

Holland said he has since learned more information. Holland also said that at the time of the groundbreaking, he thought the cart was being put before the horse.

Graeber made a motion to approve the RFP. The motion was seconded by Smith.

The motion was approved 2-1 with Holland voting against it.

“We’ll issue the RFP shortly after we receive funds from the county,” Kramer said.

Kramer said city officials will be happy to provide monthly or quarterly updates about the project to the County Commission.

Kramer said after the meeting that it will not be necessary for the Leavenworth City Commission to vote to approve the RFP before it is issued.

Officials with the city of Tonganoxie also are seeking to enter into a contract with the county government for the development of the Tonganoxie Business Park. County commissioners will receive an update on this proposed contract when they meet Monday.

“I just want to keep everything moving,” Graeber said.

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