The COVID-19 pandemic has been interesting, at least from an economic development standpoint.
“This has been a pretty interesting pandemic in so many ways,” said Steve Jack, executive director for the Leavenworth County Development Corporation.
He spoke Thursday during a meeting of the LCDC Board of Directors.
With the shutdown that started in March, leads and prospect activity for potential economic development in the county was really slow for about 1.5 months, Jack said.
He received only three leads in April as activity was “kind of clamped down.”
But he said things ratcheted up in May. And the increased activity has continued. Jack said he received 12 leads in August.
“So we’ve had a lot of activity,” he said.
The Leavenworth County Development Corporation is a nonprofit economic development organization that receives funding from several cities in Leavenworth County as well as the county government. The organization also receives support from area businesses and other organizations.
According to Jack, LCDC received a total 60 leads in 2019. And through the month of August, LCDC had received a total of 62 leads for 2020.
Jack said LCDC already has received two more leads in September.
One of the projects LCDC has been involved in this year is something that is referred to as Project Stargaze. The is the name given to a search process for a headquarters for the U.S. Space Command.
Jack said three cities in Leavenworth County, Leavenworth, Lansing and Tonganoxie, initially expressed interest in the project through a self-nomination process.
But Lansing and Tonganoxie have withdrawn. Leavenworth has responded to a request for information.
Jack said local officials had not been commenting about Project Stargaze. But that changed last week after Gov. Laura Kelly’s office issued a news release identifying Leavenworth as one of four cities in Kansas that responded to a request for information in the search process for the Space Command headquarters.
During Thursday’s meeting, Lisa Haack, LCDC’s economic development coordinator, announced LCDC was awarded an Hometown Economic Recovery Grant from the energy company Evergy.
The $15,000 grant will be used to fund a workforce program being implemented by Restored Aircraft Sales & Services in Basehor.
According to Haack, the program will provide training for employees as well as high school interns.
Because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Thursday’s meeting was conducted using an online videoconferencing service.
Jack announced during the meeting that an annual LCDC golf tournament has been canceled for this year.
Jack said LCDC organizes the tournament each year to raise money and for networking. But neither of these goals would have been accomplished this year.
He said not many teams were signed up for the tournament, which was scheduled for Sept. 16.
“We only had two sponsors,” he said.
Jack said LCDC’s executive committee had made the decision to postpone the tournament until next year.