Prathista in city spotlight

By Burk Krohe

City commissioners will consider an economic development application from an international biosciences firm at Tuesday’s 7 p.m. meeting. They will also vote on a design agreement for the new traffic operations facility and hear the Manhattan Area Chamber of Commerce’s year-end report.

Prathista International, Inc. develops and manufactures eco-friendly fertilizers and feed supplements. The company’s economic development package would be worth $500,000, and funds would go toward improvements at the airport’s armory building to create a pilot plant facility. Prathista would pay $2,180 per month in rent to the city.

After three to five years, the firm plans to construct a 52,000 square foot permanent manufacturing facility that would create about 50 new jobs. But the proposed incentives only apply to the pilot plant facility.

The Commission previously considered the application at its Nov. 15 meeting and approved advancing the application to Tuesday’s meeting. However, commissioners requested more information on Prathista products and their viability for U. S. markets. Representatives from the firm have prepared a document to respond to the questions.

Commissioners will also vote on authorization for a design-build services contract for the new traffic operations facility at the intersection of El Paso and 11th streets, north of Fort Riley Boulevard. The facility is to be constructed and operational by mid 2012. City staff believes a “phase 2” design-build contract must be awarded now in order to accomplish that goal.

City administration has prepared an $575,000 agreement for service with Schultz Construction, Ebert Mayo Design Group and Olson Associates. The building will replace the city’s former traffic facility, which was damaged by an August 2010 microburst. The facility was deemed inoperable due to roof and structural damage.

The city contracted with the same team for “phase 1,” which included developing proposals for review by the Commission through programs and meetings, developing a preliminary design and developing a guaranteed maximum price. Phase 2 is a separate contract and is designed to carry out final design and the actual construction of the new facility.

Commissioners will hear updates from the Manhattan Area Chamber of Commerce as well. The city has contracts with the Chamber for the following programs: 24-7 Marketing, Economic Development, Tourism and Convention, and Fort Riley Promotion/Military Relations.

The contracts require the Chamber to present mid-year and year-end reports on the budgets and accomplishments for these programs at formal City Commission meetings.

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