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The Kansan - Newton, KS
  • Task force formed

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  • Harvey County Administrator John Waltner hasn’t stopped believing the open stretch of ground sitting south of Newton — now known as the Kansas Logistics Park — is full of promise. He and the other members of the Kansas Logistics Park Development Authority plan to keep forging ahead on the project and make it a success. “It’s up to us to be as creative as we possibly can be, and as courageous as we can be,” he said. To help with the plans to move the logistics park forward, the KLP development authority approved the creation of an advisory task force or “think tank” that will submit recommendations for the development and marketing of the logistics park. “They would review and then make comments and recommendations,” Newton City Attorney Bob Myers said. The proposed task force includes about 12 members, some from local companies such as AGCO, Horizon Milling, Knork, Mackey & Sons, Park Aerospace Technologies, IMMI, Kustom Karriers, and MKC; as well as regional experts from organizations such as Kansas Global Trade Services, the Kansas City Port Authority and the Kansas Department of Transportation. “That’s exactly the type of people we need more and better relationships with,” Newton City Manager Randy Riggs said. The group will meet several times throughout this month, and the goal is to complete their recommendations by Dec. 1. “We wanted to move this forward,” said Mickey Fornaro-Dean, executive director of the Harvey County Economic Development Council. Harvey County Commission chair Marge Roberson hoped the public also would take an interest in the task force and its findings, and she spoke of the importance of keeping the community involved in the project. “We need to continue to try to keep the public aware not only of how we’re progressing, but the number of professionals in our community that we’re using,” she said. Waltner said the logistics park has the potential to serve a variety of industries, and he said he hears repeatedly from regional experts that forming the logistics park was a good move for Harvey County. “The logistics park is, and never has been, exclusively designed to address the wind industry,” he said. “... We hear over and over again ... emphasizing to us that the thinking is sound, location is sound, timing is sound.” “People ... continue to tell us this is the right thing to do,” he said. He said the goal of the project is to grow the local economy, increasing the tax base and quality of life for residents of Harvey County. Fornaro-Dean said “word is getting out” about the logistics park, and interest in the park continues to grow. “We’re making a name for us,” she said. 

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