If Baldwin builds a business park, city officials think business will come.
"We do have businesses interested here, but we need the land," Baldwin Mayor Stan Krysztof said.
Baldwin doesn't have any room left in its current park northeast of town. Heritage Tractor, a John Deere dealer, purchased the last lot along Industrial Park Road a few years ago.
Krysztof said he and City Administrator Larry Paine have identified a few tracts of land where the park could be located. The ideal tract would include about 200 acres, with about 60 to 90 of those acres for recreational needs, Krysztof said.
"I'd like to have a plan completed before the year is out," he said.
To help pay for the project, Krysztof inquired whether the Douglas County Commission could help. The county said not yet.
"There's other avenues we can pursue, and we are doing that," Krysztof said. There are some grants available through the Kansas Department of Commerce and Housing, he said, mainly for infrastructure-related costs.
Commissioners said they could not spend the money this year because they wanted to reduce the mill levy, but they probably could set aside $300,000 to $500,000 toward the project in 2003 or 2004.
Commissioners endorsed the business park idea.
"I think we all agree that we need industrial areas somewhere and this might be one of them," Commissioner Dean Nieder said.
Commissioners also wondered whether Baldwin's park would provide an affordable place for home-based businesses to locate. In August, commissioners will discuss new regulations related to home occupations that the Lawrence-Douglas County Planning Commission approved in May.
Debi Moore, director of economic development for the Lawrence Chamber of Commerce, thinks so. Depending on how county commissioners rule on home occupations, she said, some businesses may have to relocate or go out of business.
Moore said the Baldwin business park would be a great asset to the county, which has little room remaining for industrial businesses. She said the county only has 114 acres left in Lawrence's East Hills Business Park and even less acreage in three other areas.
"We need more industrial land," she said.
Moore is helping Baldwin city officials with their plans for the park.