“Project Homeland,” Shawnee’s infrastructure project that has taken decades of planning will soon be underway. Last month (October 2019), members of the Shawnee City Council unanimously agreed to all the details related to “Project Homeland,” of which the primary goal is to build an industrial park at the gateway intersection located at 43rd St. and Kansas Highway 7.
According to Ann Smith-Tate, who is the CEO of the Shawnee Chamber of Commerce and Economic Development Council, the project remained a high priority undertaking through several decades. Ms. Tate said that through the years, as many as five site plans and six studies demonstrate previous efforts devoted to a project that would see the building of a business park, or the development of a similar infrastructure on a Shawnee site.
Now that the plan has come into realization as “Project Homeland,” as much as $90 million in local economic development funds will be required. The local Shawnee government intends to raise the funds by issuing $250 million worth of private activity revenue bonds. After all, “Project Homeland” is more than just about developing a 182-acre site into an industrial park, comprised by a 2-million square foot facility and warehouse spaces for light manufacturing and distribution.
“Project Homeland’ includes conversion of the agricultural property into an industrial site; as well as undertakings for road works and installation of proper waste water connections; being precursors to the actual construction of the industrial park.
Once the industrial park is complete and operational, it is forecasted to yield as many as 2,000 fresh employment opportunities for Shawnee locals. Moreover, the industrial complex will become a source of new property taxes; making the city government less dependent on residential taxes being paid for by private property owners.
Entities that Will Carry Out the Development and Construction Aspects
The city will issue general obligation bonds and award economic development grants to finance the public infrastructure improvements.Three million ($3 million) will be allotted to the Johnson County Wastewater for the completion of the wastewater connections and improvements. The Kansas Department of Transportation will receive $6 million for the necessary road works.
The contract for the development and construction of the industrial park has been awarded to Blue Shawnee LLC, but under the condition that work must be rendered on the initial building by October 31, 2022 or as soon as wastewater improvements are underway; whichever of the two comes first. If Blue Shawnee fails to commence work on the first building, measuring at least 180,000 square feet during the earlier of the agreed periods, the Shawnee City government reserves the right to terminate Blue Shawnee LLC as designated building contractor.
All related development, improvement and construction works are projected to start by as early as 2020, as “Project Homeland has been given a timeframe of four (4) years to reach completion.