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Butler: 2013 could be big for local business

By Maura Wery

A groundbreaking ceremony later this month for CivicPlus will mark the first event in what Chamber of Commerce President Lyle Butler hopes will be a big year for business in 2013.

Butler told county commissioners Thursday that other local economic highlights could include expansion by a second, unnamed local business, as well as construction of a new building in the south redevelopment area.

CivicPlus plans to construct a new, five-story building at 302 4th St., the former location of Manhattan Appliance and Sleep Source. He said the groundbreaking will be held Jan. 29.

Butler also said that there would be some other construction and expansion. One of those will be the “Gwyn Riffel building,” an area of office buildings, shopping areas and restaurants to be constructed east of the Hilton Garden Inn in the south redevelopment area.

Butler said another local business, which he did not name, will also expand, with details of that to be announced by Gov. Sam Brownback Jan. 29. The business reportedly has been working closely with the state. Butler said that expansion would bring many jobs to the area. He added that another unnamed business would also have large expansion in 2013 and said those developments “can flag that Manhattan is growing.”

Commissioners asked Butler about the Flint Hills Discovery Center and whether it would exceed revenue expectations for its first year of operation. Butler said that as of mid-December the facility was around the “mid $50,000 in paid attendance.” He said that the center’s goal was to bring in around $60,000 and by the one-year anniversary in April they will “smash the $60,000,” goal.

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