City to form new industrial board

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Things can happen fast in the world of business and industry and the Concordia Board of Aldermen learned just how fast when they met last week.

Meeting on Tuesday because of the Independence Day holiday, the aldermen were given copies of an e-mail City Administrator Dale Klussman had received that day from Lynne Shea, a project manager with the Missouri Department of Economic Development. In the message Shea told of a distribution center project that might consider locating in Concordia.

The short message outlined what the company was looking for in a location and gave the city 10 days to reply.

"You can tell they're used to dealing with cities that have their own industrial park," Klussman said, noting that the requirements include 50 acres of land with infrastructure, "excellent" road access with five miles of an interstate and the availability of local incentives.

Alderman Mark Schnakenberg, who works in the real estate industry, noted it would be impossible for the city to secure the land in the time allowed.

Klussman agreed that putting together a package from scratch in 10 days would be impossible. If Concordia wants to get serious about attracting these types of projects, the information needs to be developed and readily available, he said.

Klussman suggested a committee be formed to begin collecting this information for future projects. The aldermen were in favor, but questioned whether such a committee might be encroaching on the jurisdiction of the already-established Planning and Zoning Board.

The aldermen ended the discussion by instructing Kluss-man to put together the best proposal he could for the immediate project. Klussman was also instructed to take the idea of the industrial development committee to the planning and zoning board, which was meeting the following day.

At that meeting, Klussman told the zoning board members Concordia would have a much better chance of acquiring industrial businesses with formation of a board designed to specifically deal with attracting such corporations. The board would have the time and resources to pursue potential corporations and have readily available plans and incentives to use at a moments notice, he said.

The problem Klussman and others face is trying to come up with an enticing proposal in a short amount of time. However, a board would have the ability to have plans prepared in advance if such an opportunity arose in the future.

The board would consist of three or four members and responsibilities would center mainly on growth and improvement of industry in Concordia. It would serve as a sub-committee of the planning and zoning board and would concentrate on future prospects and designing plans.

This is not the first time Concordia has had such a board. A similar industrial board was created in the early 1990s, but it disbanded in the late 1990s.

Klussman said it might already be too late to create a deal that would attract the distribution center, but in the future he hopes a designated board can bring more industry to Concordia.

Paulette Oetting, who serves on the planning and zoning board, said she was in favor of the board because it would have the ability to create long-range plans and find areas of Concordia that would be the most suitable for industry.

Following the discussion, the zoning board passed a resolution Wednesday giving its approval to the board of aldermen to form an industrial development board. The matter will now return to the aldermen when they meet on July 18.

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