BPU approves economic development project

The Kansas City, Kansas, Board of Public Utilities on Wednesday, Sept. 21, approved $248,000 for the Yards II project in the bottoms area.

The funds will be for a water main extension and waiving connection fees, according to BPU officials.

The apartment project also was referred to as the Helms.

It is the third largest economic development project the BPU has contributed to in the past several years, according to BPU members.

At another recent board meeting, the BPU turned down a request from the Yards II for $500,000 worth of economic development incentives. There was not enough return on investment for the project, the board members said at that time.

The vote was 4-2 Wednesday to approve the project, with those voting yes including Tom Groneman, Bob Milan, Mary Gonzalez and Rose Mulvany-Henry. Voting no were David Haley and Jeff Bryant.

Bryant said the BPU’s economic development fund is not sitting there waiting to be spent. It was earmarked in the budget that it could be spent, he said. Usually the BPU has $500,000 available for economic development projects each year.

“I feel those are dollars more precious than other dollars. We have to be very good stewards of dollars and make sure return on investment for our community is there,” he said.

In other action, the BPU unanimously approved a revolving loan from the Kansas Department of Health and Environment. The loan was amended from an earlier version.

Costs went up about $14.5 million since the original cost estimate, according to BPU officials.

The projects under the original $25 million loan included the Argentine Reservoir, which increased $4.5 million; replacement of a 24-inch main at 12th and Kansas River, an increase of $4 million; and electrical improvements at the Nearman Water Treatment Plant and pumping stations, an increase of $1 million.

Projects added to the total include a main at 90th and Parallel, an increase of $2 million; and replace aging distribution mains, an increase of $3 million, according to BPU officials.

The KDHE $39.5 million loan is for 30 years at an interest rate of 1.5 percent.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.