LCDC director says Tongie project benefits entire county

John Richmeier
The Leavenworth Times

A planned pet food factory in Tonganoxie will benefit the entire county, a local economic development official said.

Steve Jack, executive director of the Leavenworth County Development Corporation, talked about the planned Hill's Pet Nutrition factory Thursday during a meeting of LCDC's Board of Directors.

The company announced plans for the factory last month. The facility will be built at the Tonganoxie Business Park.

The project will result in a $250 million investment for the construction of the building and equipping the facility.

Jack has said this will be the largest capital investment by a manufacturer in the history of Leavenworth County.

"It's a great project," he said.

The company intends to employ at least 80 people at the facility by 2025. Jack said the positions will be high-wage jobs.

Jack said the project will benefit all of Leavenworth County because residents throughout the county will have the opportunity to apply for jobs at the facility. He said the facility also will eventually increase the tax base for the county.

However, the additional property taxes resulting from the project may not be seen right away. The company plans to apply for a 100% property tax exemption for 10 years. The exemption would not extend to taxes collected by the local school district.

Jack said attracting the project to Tonganoxie had been a team effort that involved people from multiple entities including the city and Kansas Department of Commerce.

"Economic development is a team sport," he said.

While working on the project, Jack had virtual meetings with representatives of the developer but did not meet them in person until after the project had been announced.

"Obviously, the way we do business has changed in the last year and a half," he said.

Jack said a successful project may send positive signals to other manufacturers who may want to locate in the area.

In fact, Jack said he was contacted about a lead for another potential project within about five minutes of the release of an announcement about Hill's Pet Nutrition project.

Twitter: @LVTNewsJohnR