GREG LOWER

Chanute Regional Development Authority board members heard a report about moving forward with plans for a Chanute land bank.

Program Director Kim Ewert said the CRDA is working with other communities to find out what issues they faced and how they handled their land banks.

The land bank would be a 501(c)(3) operation under the City of Chanute where developers could obtain or donate property, or property could be assigned by the city or Neosho County. The CRDA would act as facilitator, with the city making decisions.

Property could not be purchased from the land bank for investment purposes. If a buyer fails to develop the land, it would revert back to the land bank and the buyer forfeits any payments.

Executive Director Matt Godinez said he would like to have Chanute’s land bank started in the first quarter of 2020. Neodesha has a land bank and Fredonia will start one in January.

The board also approved the appointment of Neosho Memorial Regional Medical Center Human Resources Officer Shelli Sheerer to the board to replace Patricia Morris as representative of the healthcare business sector.

Board members approved a grant request from Home Team LLC for renovation of the building that now houses Colborn’s Kitchen. Part of the CRDA’s plan is to provide funds for downtown business renovation and the board approved $8,000 for Home Team. This is the first such grant awarded. Around $24,000 has been collected in less than a year from the extra sales tax.

The board approved community partnership agreements with the Chanute USD 413 school district for staff recruiting and a registered apprenticeship program.

Godinez reported that an agreement has been reached on Santa Fe Avenue commercial property and he hopes to make an announcement soon. He reported the new Dollar General store on Cherry Street is planning an April 1 opening.

In discussion about the Orizon Aerostructures construction project, Godinez reported the CRDA is in continued discussion about an interchange from US-169 to 21st Street. He said early agreements about the highway promised three Chanute exits, not counting the exit to the county road between Chanute and Humboldt.

He also said there were plans at one time for a frontage road between 21st and 35th streets. Godinez said 35th Street businesses support the concept, because customers who miss the exit are more likely to take one at 21st Street and return than if they took the exit at Cherry Street.

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