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Observer Corps

Jill Quigley, chair


Observer Corps reportsOverland Park City Council

January- February 2019

Luann Peterson

Jan. 28

After three hours, the council voted to move forward on the BluHawk Project located southwest of U.S. Highway 69 and 159th Street. Nine votes were needed to approve and adopt this STAR bond project plan, and 10 votes were cast in favor. Two resolutions connected to this ordinance were also approved 10 to 2. 

City staff has issued a request for proposal for a feasibility study on this project, which, when finished, will be sent to the Kansas Department of Commerce. 

While the City of Overland Park is the conduit for STAR bond projects, it is the Department of Commerce that determines the eligibility of each project and issues the bonds. 

One point of interest was a change in the project plan that eliminates the much-discussed Cosmosphere museum. While some were disappointed to learn this part of the project would not be included in Phase 1, others felt this would make the entire project ineligible for STAR bonds. However, staff had received written confirmation that the project still qualifies to proceed. Of interest during the public hearing was the shift of support in favor of this project. While there were many still opposed to this type of bond economic development as this Kansas City Star article reports, there were a number of residents from south Overland Park who were excited to see this project develop and further enhance their community. 

Also approved at this meeting was a resolution to declare the intent to issue federally taxable private activity revenue bonds (not to exceed $40 million) for financing construction costs of an expansion project for Menorah Medical Center. 

Read the council agenda.  

Feb. 4

Few developments that request tax incentives get unanimous council approval in the city of Overland Park, but that happened at the Feb. 4 meeting. The council unanimously approved a $262 million project plan at the northeast section of 95th and Metcalf. This site will be a continuation of an office campus for Shamrock Trading Corporation, a freight brokerage and transportation logistics firm that now occupies two towers across the street west of Metcalf Ave. 

Mr. Farassati and Ms. Burke, who generally are opposed to these public/private ventures, seemed more than satisfied that this particular piece of vacant property fit the bill for a Tax Increment Financing (TIF) project, primarily because it would eventually generate approximately 1,000 high-paying jobs. 

This location is the former French Market, and later Kmart, that has been standing vacant for several years. With this approval, the developer will start immediate demolition of these old structures. The first phase will include an eight-level office building, with two other buildings planned in the future. If all phases are completed, the project will be eligible for about $40 million of TIF over a 20-year period. 

Read the council agenda.

Observer Corps reportsLenexa City Council

Feb. 5

Jill Quigley

Developer Ken Block had two projects before the council. The council approved the preliminary plan for Lenexa Logistics Centre East, a four building business park on 80 acres at Renner and 116th Street. After a public hearing, the council approved a resolution in support of $14 million in industrial revenue bonds and a 10-year 55 percent tax abatement for the Lenexa Logistics Center at Britton and 113th Street.

The council also approved the preliminary plan for Meritex Lenexa Executive Park for the building of their first two aboveground industrial buildings.

The council approved a resolution providing up to $50 million in industrial revenue bonds and a fixed-pilot six-year tax abatement for Villas at Waterside, a 288-unit single building multifamily residential development at Flint and 81st Street.

During the public comment period, a Lenexa resident spoke about her concerns over the radiation emitted by 5G towers.

Read the agenda and council packet.  

Observer Corps reportsJohnson County Library Board

Feb. 14

Karen Wulfkuhle

Johnson County Library announced the Lenexa City Center Library will open June 2 at 1 p.m. It will be the third Johnson County library to have regular Sunday hours. The Cabin-Fever Book Sale, sponsored by the Friends of the Library, will be held at the Central Library March 21-22.

Read the full meeting report.

Observer Corps reportsUnited Government of Wyandotte County and Kansas City, Kansas

January-February 2019

Marge Gasnick

Jan. 31

The commissioners approved a zoning proposal for the “KC Foodie Park” at the former site of Indian Springs Mall at I-635 and State Avenue. The 50-acre development includes plans for food-focused service businesses, restaurants, distribution warehouses, and possibly a grocery store and office space. The developer is currently in discussion with the county administrator regarding possible public incentives for infrastructure. Construction is expected to take 17 months.

Read the agenda and board packet.

Feb. 14

The commissioners approved:

  • an ordinance for electric-assisted scooters and shared small-vehicle programs within KCK;
  • an ordinance adding Progressive Design Build to the UG procurement code;
  • an ordinance authorizing the county administrator to negotiate a contract amendment with Waste Management to address how the number of residential units are calculated and penalties for missed pickups; and
  • an ordinance that enables the UG to send a one-time yearly written notification to people who have received a weed/mowing violation in the previous 12 months, thereby allowing abatement and assessment of any resulting costs without prior notice.

The commission also received a report on travel expenditures for 2018 for the mayor and commissioners. For commissioners, the total travel and community event expenditures paid or reimbursed by the UG was $4,574.56. For the mayor it was $8,231.63.

Read the agenda and board packet.