The U.S. Department of Agriculture has announced the Kansas City area will serve as the new headquarters for two of the department’s research agencies. But while the exact location for the offices has not been selected, they likely will not end up in Leavenworth County.
The Leavenworth County Development Corporation submitted two new business parks in Leavenworth and Tonganoxie for consideration as part of the USDA site location search. The two Leavenworth County sites had been submitted for consideration under the umbrella of the greater Kansas City area.
Steve Jack, executive director of LCDC, said he was initially told officials involved in the site location would consider both existing buildings and sites where buildings could be constructed. But the focus of the search now seems to be only on existing buildings.
This would eliminate the Leavenworth Business and Technology Park and the Tonganoxie Business Park. Each business park has land available but not a building that could house the offices.
In August, officials with the USDA announced plans to move the department’s Research, Education and Economics program and National Institute of Food and Agriculture to locations outside of the Washington, D.C., area.
The USDA received 136 expressions of interest including one for the greater Kansas City area.
In May, USDA officials announced the Kansas City area was among three finalists in the location search process. USDA officials announced Thursday that the Kansas City area had been selected for the relocation of the offices.
Jack discussed the announcement Thursday during a meeting of the LCDC Board of Directors.
Jack said the only way the two Leavenworth County business parks will still be considered in the search is if existing office buildings that are under consideration do not work out.
“And that’s probably going to be unlikely,” he said.
Even if Leavenworth County sites are eliminated, Jack said LCDC officials are excited to be part of the process.
“It’s going to have some impact on the greater Kansas City area,” he said.
According to a news release from USDA, more than 500 positions from the two agencies will be relocated to the Kansas City area.
LCDC President Harland Russell said some of the USDA employees who will be relocated may choose to live in Leavenworth County.
“It will affect us eventually some way,” he said.