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Archive for Friday, April 12, 1996

K-10 CORRIDOR

April 12, 1996

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A K-10 development group is watching out for the face-paced development progress along the highway's corridor.

K-10 Corridor Development Inc. has hit the road at full speed now that all of the cities along the corridor are on board and raring to go.

Every city along Kansas Highway 10 between Olathe and Lawrence has agreed to use the design guidelines for all new developments along the highway.

The Association for K-10 Corridor Development Inc., is an organization designed to aid in the development progress along K-10 between Johnson and Douglas County.

"Our mission is to have all planning departments and city councils use the guidelines to ensure the highest quality development," said Rich Caplan, executive director of the group and Lawrence resident.

The group has several possible development projects under way, including a reuse plan for the Sunflower Army Ammunition Plant, south of DeSoto.

"This is one of the major opportunities for 1996," Caplan said.

And there has already been some progress. Kansas State University will open an agricultural research station on Sunflower's land. The university's 25-year-lease will enable students and professionals to provide long term studies for the public and private sectors.

The K-10 group's biggest focus right now is recruiting a potential computer microchip manufacturing plant to the area. Greater Kansas City has been named the location of a new microchip plant, and K-10 Corridor Development Inc., is fighting for the site.

"We are hopeful that the Sunflower plant will be one of two sites in Kansas City under active consideration," Caplan said.

The organization is also promoting the Southwestern Bell telephone and fiber optic linkages along the corridor. A map has been produced to show the fiber optic lines, Caplan said, and to show that all companies along K-10 will have full access to state-of-the-art technology.

In addition to a good power supply and plenty of available space, Caplan said the K-10 Corridor is a great place for businesses because of the quality employees available, adding that Kansas University on one end and Johnson County Community College on the other both offer good job training programs.

The K-10 organization originated four years ago after Johnson County released a study about the growth between Lawrence and Greater Kansas City along K-10.

"Instead of just letting growth happen, we wanted to get ahead of the development curve and make sure it happens in a quality way," Caplan said.

Protecting the environment and the open space, while at the same time getting the highest quality commercial development is the goal of the organization.

The first thing the group did was develop the design guidelines, now approved by all participating city councils. The guidelines designate the specific character of the developments.

"People say that they like the pastoral areas and want that protected. We don't want this to turn into what I-35 has become" littered with a hodgepodge of commercial and residential developments, he said.

Caplan predicts that several large projects will be approved in the next three months that could bring as many as 1,000 jobs to the area.

"I feel very confident that there will be a real boon to the corridor," he said.

And growth along the corridor means profits and growth for Lawrence. More people travel to Lawrence via K-10 than Interstate 70 and local commercial developments are taking heed.

"K-10 is Lawrence's front door and the east side of town is starting to upgrade and add businesses at an accelerated rate," he said.

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