Riley County commissioners gave Special Projects Director Monty Wedel the go-ahead to research sewer and other infrastructure upgrades/extensions within a 20-acre area of land directly north of Tuttle Creek Boulevard and east of Marlatt Avenue and Thomas Ward Road Thursday morning.
Wedel told commissioners there is interest in the piece of land and that its owner is open to sell. It could be a prime location for expansion as economic growth in the area continues to rise, he said.
“At some point it’s going to happen,” commissioner Dave Lewis said.
Commissioner Ron Wells said it’s difficult to know what specifically will become of the property, but said he thinks it and other properties adjacent to highways should be used for commercial purposes.
“I do think, myself, that all highway (properties) should be commercial,” he said. “But we need to move ahead. Developers can’t sit and wait.”
At the moment, the area lacks hook-ups to sewer and other systems needed for development, but those amenities aren’t far off. For instance, the sewer system stops just short of Tuttle Creek Boulevard on Marlatt Avenue.
“This area of the county has always been on our radar when it comes to economic development,” Wedel said.
“We need to encourage commercial development in that area,” Lewis said. “We’re getting to the point where we need to open up those avenues.”
Chairman Bob Boyd agreed.
“I think this is a good use of economic development money,” he said. “I don’t know what it’s going to cost, and I want to see that.”