Pottawatomie County boasts about eco projects

By The Mercury

Public and private partnerships paid dividends last year for Pottawatomie County, Bob Cole, executive director of the Pott County Economic Development Corporation, told county commissioners Monday.

In his 2011 annual report to the commission, Cole said the partnerships resulted in key expansions, as well as new businesses in the county.

Among the business expansions and startups in 2011 cited by Cole were the Onaga Grocery Store and MGP Ingredients at Onaga, Kansas Hardwoods at Belvue, and MS Biotech and Caterpillar Work Tools at Wamego.

“These are functions of partnerships and partnerships that worked pretty darn well,” Cole said.

Highlighting the Caterpillar Work Tools expansion, Cole said the project was a collaborative effort between the PCEDC and city, county and state governments working with the company.

The Caterpillar expansion, currently underway, will include construction of a new 40,000-square-foot building on its campus in Wamego Industrial Park. When the facility is fully operational in August, it is expected to add 120 employees, bringing Caterpillar’s local workforce to around 500.

Cole said his office is also awaiting word from the state on interim and long-term improvements to K-99 south of Wamego — a primary transportation route for semis hauling products to and from Caterpillar.

“If that happens, it’s just icing on the cake,” Cole said. “We’ve got our fingers crossed on that, and we may know something later in the week.”

Cole also said there is an “unnamed” bioscience company looking at locating in the Green Valley Business Park east of Manhattan on U.S. Highway 24.

“We think it epitomizes the kind of company you want to have in Pottawatomie County,” Cole told commissioners. “All I can tell you today is it’s looking pretty darn good.”

In other business Monday:

• Commissioners asked Bruce Brazzle to solicit proposals for three different types of buildings for the new Pott County Emergency Medical Services facility at Westmoreland.

Brazzle will seek proposals for a pole building, metal building and an SIP (Structural Insulated Panels) building, all pre-engineered.

The facility is to have a 3,600-square-foot living area and a 2,400-square-foot bay area and garage.

• The commission approved $400 for the Wamego High School after-prom party, and $880.40 for electrical upgrades to the RV park at Olsburg.

• The county clerk’s office was designated as the contact for assistance to voters needing citizenship documents, as required by the state.









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